The science supporting the use of zinc against viruses

We hear a lot about Zinc that it is a mineral important for your immune system to fight viruses.

Let’s look at the science of this claim 😊

An in vitro paper found that zinc finger antiviral protein (ZAP), which is stimulated by interferon and dependent on Zinc, strongly suppresses replication of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. This is one more mechanism by which Zinc could be preventative.

“The Zinc Finger Antiviral Protein restricts SARS-CoV-2.”

“Nevertheless, knock-down of ZAP significantly increased SARS-CoV-2 production in lung cells, particularly upon treatment with IFN-α or IFN-Îł. Thus, our results identify ZAP as an effector of the IFN response against SARS-CoV-2.”

New York City physicians released this article:

“Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin plus zinc vs. hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin alone: outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.”

“This study provides the first in vivo evidence that zinc sulfate, in combination with hydroxychloroquine, may play a role in therapeutic management for COVID-19.”

Hydroxychloroquine was given at 400 mg once and then 200 mg/d thereafter, which is a lower dose than used in most other studies. Azithromycin was given at 500 mg/d. Zinc sulfate was given at 220 mg/d, which presumably refers to the total salt and represents 50 mg/d of elemental Zinc.

They compared patients who used hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin with Zinc to those who used hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin without Zinc.

411 patients took all three treatments, while 521 took the two drugs without the Zinc.

The use of Zinc was not associated with any difference in length of hospital stay, duration of ventilation, or any specific settings used in ventilation.

However, Zinc was associated with a 49% lower risk of either being transferred to hospice or dying, a 44% decreased chance of requiring invasive ventilation, and a 56% increased likelihood of being discharged from the hospital and released to home care.

Zinc sulfate treatment was started on March 25. When controlling for the date, the association with the use of ventilation was no longer statistically significant, but the association with lower hospice care or mortality and a greater likelihood of going home remained significant.

Since everyone in this study was treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, two things are true:

On March 23, 2020, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko wrote an open letter about his successful protocol, including Zinc.

“To all medical professionals around the world:

My name is Dr. Zev Zelenko, and I practice medicine in Monroe, NY. For the last 16 years, I have cared for approximately 75% of the adult population of Kiryas Joel, which is a very close-knit community of approximately 35,000 people in which the infection spread rapidly and unchecked prior to the imposition of social distancing.

As of today, my team has tested approximately 200 people from this community for Covid-19, and 65% of the results have been positive. If extrapolated to the entire community, that means more than 20,000 people are infected at the present time. Of this group, I estimate that there are 1500 patients who are in the high-risk category (i.e.,>60, immunocompromised, comorbidities, etc.).

Given the urgency of the situation, I developed the following treatment protocol in the pre-hospital setting and have seen only positive results:

1.  Any patient with shortness of breath regardless of age is treated.

2.  Any patient in the high-risk category, even with just mild symptoms, is treated.

3.  Young, healthy, and low-risk patients, even with symptoms are not treated (unless their circumstances change, and they fall into category 1 or 2).

My outpatient treatment regimen is as follows:

1.  Hydroxychloroquine 200mg twice a day for 5 days

2.  Azithromycin 500mg once a day for 5 days

3.  Zinc sulfate 220mg once a day for 5 days

The rationale for my treatment plan is as follows. I combined the data available from China and South Korea with a recent study published from France (sites available on request). We know that hydroxychloroquine helps Zinc enter the cell. We know that Zinc slows viral replication within the cell. Regarding the use of azithromycin, I postulate it prevents secondary bacterial infections. These three drugs are well known and usually well-tolerated, hence the risk to the patient is low.

Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 350 patients in Kiryas Joel and another 150 patients in other areas of New York with the above regimen.

Of this group and the information provided to me by affiliated medical teams, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalizations, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10% of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea.

In sum, my urgent recommendation is to initiate treatment in the outpatient setting as soon as possible in accordance with the above. Based on my direct experience, it prevents acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), prevents the need for hospitalization, and saves lives.”

Zinc directly inhibits two enzymes essential to the replication of SARS-CoV, the coronavirus that causes SARS. These include papain-like protease 2 (PLP2) and the 3CL protease. The sequences and structures of these enzymes are similar to the corresponding enzymes of SARS-CoV-2

The clearest clinical evidence that Zinc has antiviral properties in humans comes from the use of zinc lozenges to treat the common cold. These trials show that ≄75 mg/d zinc is necessary to have a useful effect. They supply the Zinc using lozenges, and the Zinc is in a form such as zinc acetate, zinc gluconate, or zinc gluconate glycine. Zinc acetate resulted in an average reduction of the duration of colds by 42%, while other forms of Zinc resulted in an average reduction of 20%.

I hope this clarifies the usefulness of Zinc to combat viruses!

God bless y’all 😊

Dr. Serge

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