COVID-19 Supplements: Research Shows That Lower Zinc Levels In Blood Associated With An Increased Risk Of Mortality In COVID-19 Patients
: Spanish researchers from the Hospital Del Mar, Barcelona led by Dr Roberto Güerri-Fernández presented a new research at the ESCMID Conference on Coronavirus Disease (ECCVID, currently held online 23-25 September) that shows that having a lower level of zinc in the blood is associated with a poorer outcome in patients with COVID-19.
Past studies have shown that increased intracellular zinc concentrations efficiently impair replication/reproduction of a number of viruses.
Thailand Medical News in July also did a coverage about the benefits of Zinc supplementation and COVID-19 https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-supplements-study-shows-that-zinc-could-help-in-fight-against-covid-19-despite-earlier-reports-by-experts-saying-that-such-news-wa
To date however, the effect of plasma zinc levels on SARS-COV-2 is not yet known.
In the research, the study team explored whether plasma zinc levels at hospital admission are associated with disease outcome in COVID-19 patients.
The study team did a retrospective analysis of symptomatic admitted patients to a tertiary university hospital in Barcelona, Spain over the period from 15th March 2020 to 30th April 2020.
Various information and data on demography, pre-existing chronic conditions, laboratory results and treatment were collected. Clinical severity of COVID-19 was assessed at admission. Fasting plasma zinc levels were measured routinely at admission (baseline) in all patients admitted to the COVID-19 Unit.
The study team then used computer modeling and statistical analyses to assess the impact of zinc on mortality.
For the period of study a total 611 patients were admitted. The mean age was 63 years, and 332 patients were male (55%). During this period total mortality was 87 patients (14%).
The study included 249 of these patients (of whom 21 or 8%) died. The researchers say the 249 patients in this analysis are representative of the whole cohort of 611, and data collection and analysis for the other patients is ongoing but the continuation of the study has been made difficult by the arrival of the second wave of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain.
It was found that the mean baseline zinc levels among the 249 patients were 61 mcg/dl. Among those who died, the zinc levels at baseline were significantly lower at 43mcg/dl vs 63.1mcg/dl in survivors.
Interestingly higher zinc levels were associated with lower maximum levels of interleukin-6 (proteins that indicate systemic inflammation) during the period of active infection.
It was observed that after adjusting by age, sex, severity and receiving other drugs, statistical analysis showed each unit increase of plasma zinc at admission to hospital was associated with a 7% reduced risk of in-hospital mortality.
It was found that having a plasma zinc level lower than 50mcg/dl at admission was assoc
iated with a 2.3 times increased risk of in-hospital death compared with those patients with a plasma zinc level of 50mcg/dl or higher.
The study team concluded "Lower zinc levels at admission correlate with higher inflammation in the course of infection and poorer outcome. Plasma zinc levels at admission are associated with mortality in COVID-19 in our study
. Further studies are needed to assess the therapeutic impact of this association."
The research paper is yet to be published but Thailand Medical News will be covering it once it is released.
UDATE: 11th October 2020 Research paper publsihed on preprint server: https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.10.07.20208645v1
It should noted that there were also other previous studies that showed a correlation between zinc and COVID-19 and te benefits of zinc supplementation. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.01712/full
It was also that zinc boosted the efficacy of certain drugs to treat COVID-19. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987720306435
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