Zinc Update: Zinc supplementation has a potential role in prophylaxis of COVID-19 |
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Zinc Update: Zinc supplementation has a potential role in prophylaxis of COVID-19

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COVID-19 or coronavirus disease till now has represented the largest acute health challenge globally. According to the WHO report dated 6th March, 2020), the crude mortality ratio is 3-4%, and however these rates differ by country, patient age, and existence of any comorbidities. Most of those who have died due to the coronavirus were elderly and 75% of them had pre-existing health conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

The disease is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is transmitted from human to human. Symptomatic patients are the most common source of the disease. The transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is assumed to occur through respiratory droplets such as coughing and sneezing. Predominantly, the transmission of disease is assisted when people are in close contact, however it can also spread when one touches a contaminated surface and then touches their face.

Currently, the therapeutic strategies to manage the COVID-19 are only supportive, and reducing the community transmission is the only one effective preventive measure that supposes isolation of patients and infected people and careful control of the infection.

Zinc possesses a variety of direct and indirect antiviral properties that are understood through different mechanisms. Zinc supplementation has a potential to improve the antiviral immunity, both innate and humoral, and restore the depleted immune cell function, particularly in immunocompromised or elderly patients. Zinccan act in a synergistic manner when co-administered with the standard antiviral therapy. Effectiveness of zincagainst a number of viral infections is realized through the physical processes, such as virus attachment, infection, and uncoating. Zincmight protect or stabilize the cell membrane that contributes to blocking of the virus entry into the cell. It is also demonstrated that zincmight prevent the viral replication by modification of the proteolytic processing of replicasepolyproteins and reduce the RNA-synthesizing activity of nidoviruses, in which SARS-CoV-2 belongs. Hence, it is postulated that zinc supplementation could be of potential advantage for prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19.

Source: Kumar A, Kubota Y, Chernov M, Kasuya H. Potential role of zinc supplementation in prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19 [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 25]. Med Hypotheses. 2020; 144:109848. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109848

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