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Zinc, zinc ionophores and viruses

Zinc, zinc ionophores and viruses


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I see that scientist are sometimes trying to use so called "zinc ionophores" to get human cells to take up more zinc. Zinc is believed to sometimes reduce the ability of viruses to replicate, maybe depending on what type of virus it is. Some zinc ionophores are readily available as dietary supplements. I am thinking first and foremost on quercetin and Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

  1. Is there any way to test how "open" ones zinc-channels into the cells are?
  2. Is there any research done on how much a person typically would need to consume of a certain ionophore to get a descent amount of zinc in the cells?
  3. Zinc tablets are available as dietary supplements. Is there any point in taking those if you want more zinc into your cells or is it more or less pointless if you are lacking ionophores?

It is not pointless. Some zinc will get in. But only a small fraction of the zinc you take. In the short term, relatively high doses of zinc (like twice the RDA) should be okay. You could take them with green tea, which includes ionophores.


Zinc, zinc ionophores and viruses - Biology

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COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation

Last Updated: April 21, 2021


The Study of Quadruple Therapy Zinc, Quercetin, Bromelain and Vitamin C on the Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected With COVID-19

There are currently no antiviral drugs with proven efficacy nor are there vaccines for its prevention. Unfortunately, the scientific community has little knowledge of the molecular details of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The drugs we are chosen are used as clinical trials for antiviral and there is no proven guide for specificity and effectiveness against the virus so the results are different Now the clinical trials and research authorities are work speedily to target the most proven treatment for the virus so anything is infantile until now. the covid-19 with time be more explained by scientists it is steroid response disease and cause thromosis and cytokine storm , the aim of the study to inhibit viral replication and decrease the severity of the disease as antiviral and anticytokine storm , antithrombosis Zinc is a mineral element needed to regulate adaptive immune cells' functions. Higher level of intracellular zinc showed to increase intracellular pH which affect on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and decrease replication mechanism of RNA viruses. Therefore, drugs that described as zinc ionophores could be used with zinc supplement to act as antiviral against many RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2 Quercetin is natural compound act as zinc ionophore to cause zinc influx intracellular.

Quercetin is a safe natural anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compound that found in various natural sources include onion, red grapes, honey and citrus fruits. It was shown that quercetin has the ability to chelate zinc ions and act as zinc ionophore. Therefore, quercetin could have antiviral activity against many RNA viruses . Quercetin, a flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, has unique biological properties that may improve mental/physical performance and reduce infection risk These properties form the basis for potential benefits to overall health and disease resistance, including anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, and psychostimulant activities, as well as the ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation and capillary permeability, and to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis .There are various studies that report the immunomodulatory effect of bromelain . Bromelain activates natural killer cells and augments the production of granulocyte-macrophage-colony stimulating factor, IL-2, IL-6 and decreases the activation of Thelper cells. Thus, bromelain decreases the majority of inflammatory mediators and has demonstrated a significant role as an anti-inflammatory agent in various conditions Vitamin C is known as an essential anti-oxidant.,and enzymatic co-factor for physiological reactions such as hormone production, collagen synthesis and immune potentiation . Naturally, an insufficiency of vitamin C leads to severe injuries to multiple organs, especially to the heart and brain, since they are both highly aerobic organs that produce more oxygen radicals. In fact, studies of in vivo effect on vitamin C are difficult since most animals, except human and some primate, are capable of synthesizing vitamin C endogenously


Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Covid-19 Drug: Quercetin Dietary Supplement: bromelain Drug: Zinc Drug: Vitamin C Phase 4

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 60 participants
Allocation: N/A
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Study of Quadruple Therapy Zinc, Quercetin, Bromelain and Vitamin C on the Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected With COVID-19
Actual Study Start Date : June 20, 2020
Estimated Primary Completion Date : July 20, 2020
Estimated Study Completion Date : July 30, 2020

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Contents

Biological activities of metal ion-binding compounds can be changed in response to the increment of the metal concentration, and based on the latter compounds can be classified as "metal ionophores", "metal chelators" or "metal shuttles". [3] If the biological effect is augmented by increasing the metal concentration, it is classified as a "metal ionophore". If the biological effect is decreased or reversed by increasing the metal concentration, it is classified as a "metal chelator". If the biological effect is not affected by increasing the metal concentration, and the compound-metal complex enters the cell, it is classified as a "metal shuttle". The term ionophore (from Greek ion carrier or ion bearer) was proposed by Berton Pressman in 1967 when he and his colleagues were investigating the antibiotic mechanisms of valinomycin and nigericin. [4]

Many ionophores are produced naturally by a variety of microbes, fungi and plants, and act as a defense against competing or pathogenic species. Multiple synthetic membrane-spanning ionophores have also been synthesized. [5] The two broad classifications of ionophores synthesized by microorganisms are:

  • Carrier ionophores that bind to a particular ion and shield its charge from the surrounding environment. This makes it easier for the ion to pass through the hydrophobic interior of the lipid membrane. [6] However, these ionophores become unable to transport ions under very low temperatures. [7] An example of a carrier ionophore is valinomycin, a molecule that transports a single potassiumcation. Carrier ionophores may be proteins or other molecules.
  • Channel formers that introduce a hydrophilic pore into the membrane, allowing ions to pass through without coming into contact with the membrane's hydrophobic interior. [8] Channel forming ionophores are usually large proteins. This type of ionophores can maintain their ability to transfer ions at low temperatures, unlike carrier ionophores. [7] Examples of channel-forming ionophores are gramicidin A and nystatin.

Ionophores that transport hydrogen ions (H + , i.e. protons) across the cell membrane are called protonophores. Iron ionophores and chelating agents are collectively called siderophores.

Synthetic ionophores Edit

Many synthetic ionophores are based on crown ethers, cryptands, and calixarenes. Pyrazole-pyridine and bis-pyrazole derivatives have also been synthesized. [9] These synthetic species are often macrocyclic. [10] Some synthetic agents are not macrocyclic, e.g. carbonyl cyanide-p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone. Even simple organic compounds, such as phenols, exhibit ionophoric properties. The majority of synthetic receptors used in the carrier-based anion-selective electrodes employ transition elements or metalloids as anion carriers, although simple organic urea- and thiourea-based receptors are known. [11]

Ionophores are chemical compounds that reversibly bind and transport ions through biological membranes in the absence of a protein pore. This can disrupt the membrane potential, and thus these substances could exhibit cytotoxic properties. [1] Ionophores modify the permeability of biological membranes toward certain ions to which they show affinity and selectivity. Many ionophores are lipid-soluble and transport ions across hydrophobic membranes, such as lipid bilayers found in the living cells or synthetic vesicles (liposomes), or liquid polymeric membranes (carrier-based ion selective electrodes). [1] Structurally, an ionophore contains a hydrophilic center and a hydrophobic portion that interacts with the membrane. Ions are bound to the hydrophilic center and form an ionophore-ion complex. The structure of the ionophore-ion complex has been verified by X-ray crystallography. [12]

Several chemical factors affect the ionophore activity. [13] The activity of an ionophore-metal complex depends on its geometric configuration and the coordinating sites and atoms which create coordination environment surrounding the metal center. This affects the selectivity and affinity towards a certain ion. Ionophores can be selective to a particular ion but may not be exclusive to it. Ionophores facilitate the transport of ions across biological membranes most commonly via passive transport, which is affected by lipophilicity of the ionophore molecule. The increase in lipophilicity of the ionophore-metal complex enhances its permeability through lipophilic membranes. The hydrophobicity and hydrophilicity of the complex also determines whether it will slow down or ease the transport of metal ions into cell compartments. The reduction potential of a metal complex influences its thermodynamic stability and affects its reactivity. The ability of an ionophore to transfer ions is also affected by the temperature.

Ionophores are widely used in cell physiology experiments and biotechnology as these compounds can effectively perturb gradients of ions across biological membranes and thus they can modulate or enhance the role of key ions in the cell. [14] Many ionophores have shown antibacterial and antifungal activities. [15] Some of them also act against insects, pests and parasites. Some ionophores have been introduced into medicinal products for dermatological and veterinary use. [16] [17] A large amount of research has been directed toward investigating novel antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties of different ionophores. [15] [18] [3]

Chloroquine is an antimalarial and antiamebic drug. [19] It is also used in the management of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus. Pyrithione is used as an anti-dandruff agent in medicated shampoos for seborrheic dermatitis. [16] It also serves as an anti-fouling agent in paints to cover and protect surfaces against mildew and algae. [20] Clioquinol and PBT2 are 8-hydroxyquinoline derivatives. [21] Clioquinol has antiprotozoal and topical antifungal properties, however its use as an antiprotozoal agent has widely restricted because of neurotoxic concerns. [22] Clioquinol and PBT2 are currently being studied for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and Parkinson's disease. Gramicidin is used in throat lozenges and has been used to treat infected wounds. [23] [24] Epigallocatechin gallate is used in many dietary supplements [25] and has shown slight cholesterol-lowering effects. [26] Quercetin has a bitter flavor and is used as a food additive and in dietary supplements. [27] Hinokitiol (ß-thujaplicin) is used in commercial products for skin, hair and oral care, insect repellents and deodorants. [28] [29] It is also used as a food additive, [30] shelf-life extending agent in food packaging, [31] and wood preservative in timber treatment. [32]

Polyene antimycotics, such as nystatin, natamycin and amphotericin B, are a subgroup of macrolides and are widely used antifungal and antileishmanial medications. These drugs act as ionophores by binding to ergosterol in the fungal cell membrane and making it leaky and permeable for K + and Na + ions, as a result contributing to fungal cell death. [33]


3. Zinc: an immune-boosting nutrient

A serum zinc level of 80� μg/dl is considered as a normal range [57], and 㱰 μg/dl is regarded as clinical zinc deficiency [58], [59]. Impaired zinc homeostasis adversely affects immune cells by multiple mechanisms that result in the abnormal formation of lymphocytes, impaired intercellular cytokine communication, and diminished phagocytosis that cause an inadequate host defense [60]. Improved zinc intake may also reduce the risk of bacterial pneumonia co-infection by improving ciliary length and movement that affects viral particle removal and improves mucociliary clearance. There are many ways to supplement zinc through usual food consumption. Meat (lamb, beef, and chicken) and seafood (oysters, and lobster) are zinc-containing food. In addition, black sesame, soy foods, mushrooms, lentils, celery, legumes, nuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are good sources of zinc [4]. Zinc can also influence the functionality of several immune cells [61], [62], and an inadequate zinc microenvironment can impair host�nse systems [63], thus increasing the susceptibility to various microorganisms [64]. In vitro studies have shown a higher rate of mouse CD4 +򠳘 + thymocyte death by apoptosis in those with low zinc concentrations [65], while apoptosis was shown to be reduced by adding zinc [66]. In a study of human children, zinc supplementation has been shown to provide T�ll‐mediated immunity by increasing the numbers of CD4 +򠳓 +ꃎlls in peripheral blood [67]. By contrast, zinc deficiency has been shown to impair B�ll development [68], with low IgG production [69], leading to higher rates of infection and subsequent mortality [70]. Experimentally induced maternal zinc deficiency caused a lower level of antibody generation in the offspring, while zinc supplementation could restore the impaired antibody‐mediated responses [71]. Although the zinc supplementation can increase CD3 +򠳔 +ꃎlls in the peripheral blood, to better understand T cell-mediated immunity, potential effects of zinc on T cell subsets, including the balance between regulatory T (Treg) cells and T helper type 17 (Th17), are needed. Of relevance, Treg cells can reduce or resolve inflammation, while Th17 cells can promote inflammation in various human diseases with immune dysregulation [72]. Studies have shown that zinc deficiency can drive Th17 polarization and promote the loss of Treg cell function [73]. More importantly, zinc supplementation can suppress Th17 cell development to provide an additional shield against the infection [74]. Cytotoxic CD8 +ꃎlls can kill virally infected cells, and experimental studies have shown that a zinc-deficient diet resulted in reduced population of CD8 +ꃎlls, thereby contributing to the exacerbation of the inflammatory responses [75], [76]. Of clinical importance, a low numbers of lymphocyte, including CD8 +ꃎlls are shown to be associated with poor prognosis of COVID-19 patients, and increasing lymphocyte counts resulted in clinical improvements [77], [78]. Macrophages showed reduced phagocytic ability against the parasites in a low zinc microenvironment, and the phagocytic activity of the macrophages can be restored by increasing zinc concentration [67].

A low zinc intake by elderly individuals has been documented in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) 35%�% of elderly individuals (� years) were projected to be consuming zinc below the estimated average requirements (6.8 mg/day for elderly females 9.4 mg/day for elderly males). Even after adjusting the consumption from both food sources and dietary supplements, 20%�% of elderly individuals were estimated to have inadequate zinc intakes [79], [80]. Reduced dietary zinc intake in elderly individuals is associated with a low intracellular concentration of zinc [81]. Of clinical significance, altered level of intracellular ionic zinc could exist, even when the plasma levels of zinc are within the normal range. This suggests that the plasma level of zinc might not always reflect the overall zinc status and could be misleading, particularly in elderly individuals [82], [83], [84]. When zinc level was measured in serum and the same individual's skin biopsy, despite low serum level of zinc, not much change in zinc content was noted in the biopsy site of the patients with leprosy when compared with the control tissue content [85]. In a similar line of study, when zinc was measured in serum and thigh skin in patients with chronic venous leg ulceration, the skin zinc concentration was elevated in patients with ulceration, as compared to the healthy controls although the serum zinc level was lower in patients with chronic venous leg ulceration [86]. Moreover, commonly prescribed drugs, including hydrochlorothiazide, angiotensin 2 receptor antagonists, and angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors that are used for the treatment of hypertension and cardiovascular disease patients can cause increased urinary excretion of zinc to induce systemic zinc deficiency [87]. In studies of zinc-deficient individuals, exogenous zinc supplementation resulted in higher INF (type I and II) production and response, along with improved immune cell survival, maturation, and function [88], [89].

Elderly individuals commonly suffer from an inadequate immune system [63], and are generally more susceptible to COVID-19 infection [90], [91]. Again, elderly individuals with comorbidity, including hypertension and diabetes, are usually zinc deficient [92]. Studies have shown that elderly individuals who consumed 45 mg elemental zinc/day for a year had a significantly reduced infection occurrence [89]. Other reports suggest zinc supplements up to 150 mg/daily are needed, especially during viral infections [93]. This seems to point to the idea that maintaining optimal zinc balance is essential in protecting against infection. The mechanism of higher intracellular zinc concentration could affect the replicative cycle of the RNA viruses to reduce viral replication. It is noteworthy that COVID-19 is an RNA virus.


How zinc starves lethal bacteria to stop infection

Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.

The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to design antibacterial agents in the fight against Streptococcus pneumoniae.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible for more than one million deaths a year, killing children, the elderly and other vulnerable people by causing pneumonia, meningitis, and other serious infectious diseases.

Published today in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the researchers describe how zinc "jams shut" a protein transporter in the bacteria so that it cannot take up manganese, an essential metal that Streptococcus pneumoniae needs to be able to invade and cause disease in humans.

"It's long been known that zinc plays an important role in the body's ability to protect against bacterial infection, but this is the first time anyone has been able to show how zinc actually blocks an essential pathway causing the bacteria to starve," says project leader Dr Christopher McDevitt, Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide's Research Centre for Infectious Diseases.

"This work spans fields from chemistry and biochemistry to microbiology and immunology to see, at an atomic level of detail, how this transport protein is responsible for keeping the bacteria alive by scavenging one essential metal (manganese), but at the same time also makes the bacteria vulnerable to being killed by another metal (zinc)," says Professor Bostjan Kobe, Professor of Structural Biology at The University of Queensland.

The study reveals that the bacterial transporter (PsaBCA) uses a 'spring-hammer' mechanism to bind the metals. The difference in size between the two metals, manganese and zinc, causes the transporter to bind them in different ways. The smaller size of zinc means that when it binds to the transporter, the mechanism closes too tightly around the zinc, causing an essential spring in the protein to unwind too far, jamming it shut and blocking the transporter from being able to take up manganese.

"Without manganese, these bacteria can easily be cleared by the immune system," says Dr McDevitt. "For the first time, we understand how these types of transporters function. With this new information we can start to design the next generation of antibacterial agents to target and block these essential transporters."


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In: PLoS pathogens , Vol. 6, No. 11, e1001176, 11.2010.

Research output : Contribution to journal › Article › peer-review

T1 - Zn2+ inhibits coronavirus and arterivirus RNA polymerase activity in vitro and zinc ionophores block the replication of these viruses in cell culture

AU - te Velthuis, Aartjan J.W.

AU - van den Worml, Sjoerd H.E.

N2 - Increasing the intracellular Zn2+ concentration with zinc-ionophores like pyrithione (PT) can efficiently impair the replication of a variety of RNA viruses, including poliovirus and influenza virus. For some viruses this effect has been attributed to interference with viral polyprotein processing. In this study we demonstrate that the combination of Zn2+ and PT at low concentrations (2 μM Zn2+ and 2 μM PT) inhibits the replication of SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and equine arteritis virus (EAV) in cell culture. The RNA synthesis of these two distantly related nidoviruses is catalyzed by an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which is the core enzyme of their multiprotein replication and transcription complex (RTC). Using an activity assay for RTCs isolated from cells infected with SARS-CoV or EAV-thus eliminating the need for PT to transport Zn2+ across the plasma membrane-we show that Zn2+ efficiently inhibits the RNA-synthesizing activity of the RTCs of both viruses. Enzymatic studies using recombinant RdRps (SARS-CoV nsp12 and EAV nsp9) purified from E. coli subsequently revealed that Zn2+ directly inhibited the in vitro activity of both nidovirus polymerases. More specifically, Zn2+ was found to block the initiation step of EAV RNA synthesis, whereas in the case of the SARS-CoV RdRp elongation was inhibited and template binding reduced. By chelating Zn2+ with MgEDTA, the inhibitory effect of the divalent cation could be reversed, which provides a novel experimental tool for in vitro studies of the molecular details of nidovirus replication and transcription.

AB - Increasing the intracellular Zn2+ concentration with zinc-ionophores like pyrithione (PT) can efficiently impair the replication of a variety of RNA viruses, including poliovirus and influenza virus. For some viruses this effect has been attributed to interference with viral polyprotein processing. In this study we demonstrate that the combination of Zn2+ and PT at low concentrations (2 μM Zn2+ and 2 μM PT) inhibits the replication of SARS-coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and equine arteritis virus (EAV) in cell culture. The RNA synthesis of these two distantly related nidoviruses is catalyzed by an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which is the core enzyme of their multiprotein replication and transcription complex (RTC). Using an activity assay for RTCs isolated from cells infected with SARS-CoV or EAV-thus eliminating the need for PT to transport Zn2+ across the plasma membrane-we show that Zn2+ efficiently inhibits the RNA-synthesizing activity of the RTCs of both viruses. Enzymatic studies using recombinant RdRps (SARS-CoV nsp12 and EAV nsp9) purified from E. coli subsequently revealed that Zn2+ directly inhibited the in vitro activity of both nidovirus polymerases. More specifically, Zn2+ was found to block the initiation step of EAV RNA synthesis, whereas in the case of the SARS-CoV RdRp elongation was inhibited and template binding reduced. By chelating Zn2+ with MgEDTA, the inhibitory effect of the divalent cation could be reversed, which provides a novel experimental tool for in vitro studies of the molecular details of nidovirus replication and transcription.


Coronavirus: To zinc or not to zinc?

Calling the specific virus that is causing COVID-19 “coronavirus” is a bit like calling the Ford Explorer “the SUV.” Both statements are true, but with both, one is part of the other. There are lots of different SUVs there are lots of different coronaviruses.

Zinc is something that will not hurt you, and there may be some benefit when it comes to COVID-19, like with other coronaviruses. Photo: Getty Images.

Many common colds are caused by coronaviruses. Various scientific studies (we’ll get to those in a moment) have shown zinc lozenges to be effective in shortening the misery phase of common colds. So in the face of a coronavirus pandemic, here’s a big question many are asking: can zinc shorten the duration of – or even diminish the symptom load and thereby lessen the impact – of COVID-19?

The answer is we don’t know yet. But to twist the analogy: if changing the oil helps a Jeep Grand Cherokee avoid the shop, it’s a good bet that doing the same will benefit the Ford Explorer, too.

Dr. Ian Tullberg bears no responsibility for the above comparison. But as far as helping patients get over colds, “there’s good evidence that oral zinc works well,” the medical director of UCHealth Medical Group Urgent Care said.

With respect to the specific coronavirus that is causing the pandemic now, “the problem is that this is still so early that we don’t have the knowledge if it works or not,” Tullberg said. “However, zinc is something that will not hurt you, and there may be some benefit.”

Those who swear by zinc as a cold remedy know to take it when they first start to feel a scratchy throat. They try to hit it early – right when the cold’s coming on. Research spanning decades has shown that using zinc lozenges through the course of the cold does make a difference.

The data around Zinc and coronaviruses

Four different coronaviruses cause perhaps as many as a quarter of all common colds.

A study published in 1996 shuffled 100 Cleveland Clinic employees who self-reported catching colds into two groups. Fifty took lozenges containing 13.3 milligrams of zinc gluconate – the dosage of today’s Cold-Eeze and other over-the-counter lozenges – every two hours as long as they had cold symptoms. Fifty others took placebo lozenges. The study was double-blind, so neither patients nor researchers knew which patients had the placebo. The findings: the zinc group cleared symptoms more than three days earlier – 4.4 days versus 7.6 days of the placebo group, and, until that point, suffered fewer days with cough, headache, hoarseness, nasal congestion, and sore throat (fever, muscle aches, scratchy throat and sneezing remained similar during the cold’s duration). Zinc has side effects – “bad-taste reactions” (understandable) and, among 20 percent of those taking zinc, nausea.

More recent zinc-common-cold studies have been mixed. A team led by Finnish researcher Harri Hemilä reviewed three previous zinc trials and, in a report published in 2016, found that those taking zinc shortened their colds by nearly three days. When the same group ran their own trial, though, they found no difference in cold symptoms or duration, according to a study published in January 2020.

A 2010 study led by University of Leiden Medical researchers in the Netherlands sought to understand how zinc inhibited replication of a cousin of SARS-CoV-2: SARS-CoV, the original SARS of the 2003 outbreak. Click through for details, which get into the biochemical nitty-gritty, but the gist is that zinc throws a wrench in the virus’s RNA-synthesis machine.

Now, there are caveats with zinc. First, like everything else, there can be too much of a good thing – more than 150 milligrams a day for adult. That’s about 11 lozenges the recommended zinc-lozenge maximum for adults being six and just four for children ages 12-17 (research has shown younger children to not benefit from taking zinc). Second, zinc nasal sprays shouldn’t be used, Tullberg says. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned against such products because people who used them lost their sense of smell.

What does that background say about the effectiveness of zinc and the SARS-CoV-2 now known as coronavirus? It is, at best, effectiveness by association. But an email that recently went viral as a blog post indicates that Tullberg is in good company with his openness to zinc lozenges as a way to at least try and mitigate COVID-19 flu symptoms.

A virologist’s take on Zinc and COVID-19

The email was one that James A. Robb sent to friends and family. He is University of Colorado School of Medicine MD, a pathologist, and molecular virologist who, while at the University of California, San Diego in the 1970s, did pioneering work in understanding coronaviruses. He wrote:

For all updates and to read more articles about the new coronavirus, please visit uchealth.org/covid19

Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

Snopes.com, a website dedicated to debunking (or confirming) internet myths, investigated after his words were twisted by others and reposted with exaggerated claims such as zinc being a “silver bullet” against coronavirus. In an email to Snopes, Robb confirmed that he’d written the above and added, “In my experience as a virologist and pathologist, zinc will inhibit the replication of many viruses, including coronaviruses. I expect COVID-19 will be inhibited similarly, but I have no direct experimental support for this claim. I must add, however, that using zinc lozenges as directed by the manufacturer is no guarantee against being infected by the virus, even if it inhibits the viral replication in the nasopharynx.”

In short, if coronavirus is like an SUV, zinc lozenges may well be something like an oil change, though we’ll need many more miles to really know for sure.

(This story has been updated to remove reference to a retracted 2013 Cochrane Review article on zinc’s effect on the common cold and add references to the 2016 and 2020 Finnish-led studies on zinc and the common cold.)


Associated Data

Question

Do high-dose zinc, high-dose ascorbic acid, and/or a combination of the 2 reduce the duration of symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)?

Findings

In this randomized clinical trial of 214 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection receiving outpatient care, there was no significant difference in the duration of symptoms among the 4 groups.

Meaning

These findings suggest that treatment with zinc, ascorbic acid, or both does not affect SARS-CoV-2 symptoms.


COVID-19 How Can I Cure Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

While still unknown to most practitioners of traditional or ‘modern’ medicine, acute viral syndromes, COVID-19 included, can all be easily prevented most of the time. And when such viruses do get a foothold in the body, they are still easily eradicated if the patient is not too close to death before receiving any of a large number of treatments established to be effective.

Many doctors get attacked for promoting treatments as cures for afflictions that are traditionally considered to be incurable. Certainly, it is true that some treatments promoted as being reliable cures are either fraudulent or of only nominal benefit. However, failing to assert the validity of a true cure for a medical condition is just as detrimental to the health of an ailing patient as it is promoting a false cure.

Many doctors know of highly beneficial treatments that cure or vastly improve medical conditions that are little affected by traditional therapies. Yet, fear of license revocation for telling the truth about inexpensive and natural therapies that cannot be protected by patents keeps most health care practitioners from promoting those beneficial therapies.

Vitamin C, D, zinc, and selenium have a solid track record of anti-viral effects

Nothing is ever embraced, and seemingly not even permitted, that would take away large profits from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and even many of the doctors themselves. Whenever you are absolutely stupefied and cannot figure out why a valuable treatment is not being used, just take the time to identify, expose, and analyze the money trail that is involved with the prescription drugs and/or overall treatment protocol that would be displaced. [1] The reason for the avoidance or suppression of that therapy will then become apparent.

To be perfectly clear: The health of the patient must always be the primary concern whenever rendering medical care.

There already exist numerous ways to reliably prevent, mitigate, and even cure COVID-19, including in late-stage patients who are already ventilator-dependent. Some of the modalities have already been proven to work, although not in the classic “prospective double-blind, placebo-controlled trials” conducted on hundreds to thousands of patients. A perceptive clinician realizes that one overwhelmingly impressive case report where an agent or intervention promptly and unequivocally reverses the condition of a rapidly declining patient back to good health simply cannot be dismissed and disparaged as anecdotal and irrelevant.

Furthermore, it is the existence of such cases and unequivocally positive responses that makes it completely unethical to put other patients into placebo-controlled trials when the treatment is dramatically beneficial to most patients and harmless to all. Allowing patients in the placebo group to suffer greatly and even die under such circumstances can never be justified.

Unfortunately, even when multiple scientifically-sound clinical studies actually do get conducted and reported on inexpensive, nontoxic, and highly effective therapies, those therapies rarely get utilized clinically. Although there are many examples of such therapies, an especially noteworthy example of the suppression of good medicine is seen with vitamin C.

The continued avoidance of the use of intravenous vitamin C, especially in septic patients in the intensive unit, [2] stands out as a clear example of flagrant malpractice. Conservatively, thousands of ICU patients around the world, on a daily basis, would be saved or at least spared substantial suffering with a simple protocol utilizing intravenous vitamin C. And the morbidity and mortality of many different infections and toxin exposures outside of the ICU setting would also be readily mitigated and even resolved with vitamin C-based protocols. But this is not happening, even though the literature has unequivocally indicated the clinical importance (and safety) of vitamin C for over 80 years. [3]

The following therapies can be used, and many have been used, to prevent and treat COVID-19 (and many other infections, viral or otherwise). Not all of them have been equally well-documented or proven as being effective. Some have strong literature, research study, and clinical support. Others represent simply logical applications of treatment protocols that have already been proven to be highly effective in eradicating other viral infections and should be expected to have comparable effects on the COVID-19 virus. The treatments described below are categorized as having the ability to prevent, to improve and to cure COVID-19 and other viral syndromes.

Vitamin C (prevents, improves, cures)

Vitamin C has been documented to readily cure all acute viral syndromes in which it has been adequately dosed. As the ultimate virucide, vitamin C has been documented to inactivate/destroy every virus against which it was tested in vitro (in the test tube). Similarly, vitamin C has consistently resolved nearly all acute viral infections in patients treated with sufficient doses. [1,3] Vitamin C has cured Zika fever, another epidemic virus that struck in 2016. [4]

Along with hydrogen peroxide, intravenous vitamin C has also been documented to be highly effective against the debilitating pain of Chikungunya virus. [5] Intravenous vitamin C has also resolved influenza. [6] A high degree of protection against infection by many other pathogens is also achievable with a variety of treatments featuring oral forms of vitamin C.

In an ongoing clinical study on hospitalized COVID-19 patients, a combination of vitamin C, methylprednisolone, heparin, and thiamine has already resulted in a dramatic decrease in hospital mortality rate. [7]

Vitamin D (prevents, improves)

Vitamin D has been clearly documented to strengthen immune function and decrease the risk of infection from any pathogen, including the COVID-19 virus. Patients with the highest vitamin D levels have shorter and less symptomatic courses of infection. While vitamin D has not been demonstrated to cure viruses as a monotherapy, maintaining an adequate level of vitamin D is vital for both preventing the contraction of infectious diseases as well as for recovering more rapidly from such infections, with a clear decrease in mortality rate. [8]

In a recent study not yet published, Indonesian researchers studied the effects of vitamin D on mortality in 780 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. They found that nearly all (98.9%) of COVID-19 patients with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml died. Yet, less than 5% with substantially higher levels of vitamin D died.

Consistent with these findings, it has been shown that the most life-threatening complication of COVID-19 infection, acute respiratory distress syndrome, occurs much more readily in the presence of a vitamin D deficiency. [9] Clearly, vitamin D supplementation should be part of any treatment protocol for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease.

Zinc (prevents, improves)

Zinc is needed inside the virus-infected cells to stop virus replication by inhibiting viral RNA polymerase. It is a possibility that many of the younger individuals that are either killed or made severely ill by COVID-19 are chronically zinc-depleted due to inadvertently zinc-deficient diets.

Since supplemental zinc has only a limited ability to reach the cytoplasm of cells due to its ionic nature, zinc ionophores (agents that complex with zinc and transport it into the cell) are known to be good general antiviral agents. Quercetin is one such supplement, and it can serve as a good adjunctive agent to any COVID-19 treatment protocol. [10] Chloroquine, discussed below, is also a zinc ionophore, perhaps explaining its potent anti-COVID-19 effects.

Magnesium Chloride (prevents, improves, may cure)

Magnesium, especially as magnesium chloride, has been documented to have substantial antipathogen properties, and it has been reported to cure poliovirus infections as a monotherapy when ingested orally. [11]

While it remains unclear what an aggressive regimen of this agent would do as a monotherapy for COVID-19, it can be expected to be a positive adjunctive agent in any COVID-19 prevention or treatment protocol.

Ozone (improves, cures)

Ozone is probably the single most potent anti-pathogenic agent available today. It readily eradicates all pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa. It has many routes of administration and can be utilized as an effective monotherapy, although it positively supports all treatment protocols in an adjunctive and usually synergistic fashion as well. [12]

Ozone has been documented to cure advanced cases of Ebola virus, for which there are still no known effective mainstream medical therapies. [13] For someone with ready access to ozone, different applications of ozone could certainly be used to prevent COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses as well. However, with the other simple and effective antiviral measures listed in this article, using ozone for prevention is not really needed.

Hydrogen Peroxide (prevents, improves, cures)

Hydrogen peroxide has been used for many years as a monotherapy as well as part of many different treatment protocols for a wide variety of infections. A clinically effective dose will typically cost less than a dime. During a severe epidemic of influenza in 1919 a protocol of intravenous hydrogen peroxide given only to the most severely ill patients dramatically decreased the death rate. [14]

Due to its well-documented and potent antipathogen properties, along with producing no toxic byproducts upon killing pathogens, hydrogen peroxide is now being proposed in the literature for an off-label use via oral and nasal washing, a regimen of gargling, and administration via nebulization immediately upon symptom appearance with the presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19. [15,16] Impressive anecdotal evidence already indicates that this application, especially via nebulization, appears to be a powerful preventive and even curative therapy against all respiratory-acquired infections, viral or otherwise.

In addition to nebulization with hydrogen peroxide, a large number of other agents can also be nebulized that have pathogen-killing and mucosal cell-healing properties, including, but not limited to: DMSO, magnesium chloride, sodium ascorbate [vitamin C], nascent iodine, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, zinc chloride, glutathione, and N-acetyl cysteine.

Hyperbaric Oxygen (may improve, may cure)

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the breathing of pure oxygen inside a chamber that is pressurized between 1.5 to 3 times normal atmospheric pressure. It has been documented to consistently help eradicate deep-seated and otherwise non-healing wounds and infections. [17] Ozone therapy, which has destroyed all viruses and pathogens against which it has been tested, has been shown to share some mechanisms of action with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This certainly raises the reasonable possibility that hyperbaric oxygen might also be a very effective antiviral therapy in addition to its established antibacterial effects. [18]

Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (improves, may cure)

Also known as photo-oxidation therapy, ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy has been effectively treating infections for many decades now. In a series of 36 cases of acute polio (spinal type), the blood irradiation treatment was successful in curing 100% of these patients. Viral hepatitis and bacterial sepsis were also found to be very effectively treated with ultraviolet blood irradiation. [19] This irradiation therapy would likely be equally effective against any other pathogens, especially viruses.

Chlorine Dioxide (improves, cures)

Chlorine dioxide has long been recognized as a powerful antimicrobial agent. It has been around for over 100 years, and it is used both to purify water and to purify blood to be used for transfusion. As a therapeutic agent for infectious diseases, it has been given both orally and intravenously with great effect, and it has been shown to be very effective against COVID-19 as well. [20,21]

Dr. Andreas Kalcker directed a clinical study with doctors in Ecuador on COVID-19 patients using oral and intravenous chlorine dioxide. 97% of over 100 COVID-19 patients were vastly improved with clear remission of the severest symptoms after a four-day treatment regimen with chlorine dioxide. No deaths were reported. Oftentimes a dramatic clinical response was seen after only 24 hours. [22] A clinical study on the effects of oral chlorine dioxide on COVID-19 patients in Colombia was initiated in April of this year. [23]

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine (prevents, improves, cures)

I have had the opportunity to see clear-cut and dramatically positive clinical responses in six individuals with rapidly evolving symptoms consistent with fulminant COVID-19 infection treated with oral chloroquine phosphate. In these individuals (ranging from 35 to 65 years of age), therapy was initiated when breathing was already very difficult and continuing to worsen. In all six, significant improvement in breathing was seen within about four hours after the first dose, with a complete clinical recovery seen after about an average of three days. The oldest individual had a pulse oximeter reading of 80 before the first dose of chloroquine, and the reading improved to 94 after about four hours as the labored breathing eased.

The rapidity with which the shortness of breath evolved in all these individuals strongly suggested that respiratory failure secondary to COVID-19-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome was imminent. The chloroquine dosing was continued for several days after complete clinical resolution to prevent any possible clinical relapse. While a large, definitive study on chloroquine and COVID-19 remains to be completed, there is already a great deal of published evidence supporting its effectiveness and overall safety. [34,35]

Also, a recent clinical trial demonstrated that hydroxychloroquine given with azithromycin eradicated or significantly decreased measured viral load in respiratory swabs. [36]

Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine are old drugs that are very safe at the doses shown to be effective in treating COVID-19, and they are both recognized as having significant nonspecific antiviral properties. Also, chloroquine, and probably hydroxychloroquine as well, are zinc ionophores, [37,38] which is likely the reason why they have such significant antiviral properties.

As noted above in the discussion on zinc, agents that greatly facilitate zinc transport inside virus-infected cells rapidly accelerate virus destruction and clinical resolution of the viral infection. Many clinicians now feel that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine therapy for COVID-19 and other viruses is optimized by concomitant zinc administration. [39,40] Certainly, there is no good reason to avoid taking zinc with these agents.

As might be expected, drugs as potently antiviral to COVID-19 as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine would be expected to be effective preventive agents as well, particularly in the setting where exposure is known or strongly suspected to have taken place, or in a setting where repeated and substantial exposure will reliably occur, as in COVID-19-treating hospitals. [41,42]

Many front-line health care workers are on such preventive protocols. But many of the physicians who are taking one of these agents to prevent COVID-19 infection are still resistant to giving it to infected patients. This is difficult to logically reconcile if patient welfare is of the uppermost concern.

Radiotherapy (improves, cures)

In a recent pilot trial at Emory University, five nursing home patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were given a single treatment of low-dose radiotherapy over the lungs. All five patients had radiographic evidence of pneumonia and required supplemental oxygen. All five were felt to be deteriorating from a clinical perspective. The radiotherapy consisted of a 10- to 15-minute application of 1.5 Gy (150 rads). Four of the five patients were noted to have a rapid improvement in their breathing, and clinical recovery was seen to occur between 3 and 96 hours post-irradiation.

General Recommendations

While many supplement regimens can be used for COVID-19 prevention, such regimens should include at a minimum vitamin C, vitamin D, magnesium chloride, and zinc. Any of many additional quality nutrient and antioxidant supplements can be added as desired, largely dependent on expense and personal preference.

Nebulizations of powerful antipathogen agents, especially hydrogen peroxide, can readily prevent respiratory viral infections like COVID-19 from taking hold, and initiating such nebulizations even after an infection has been contracted will still make a substantial contribution to a more rapid and complete recovery.

As noted earlier, interventions such as ozone and ultraviolet blood treatments have the potential to be effective monotherapies, although it is always a good idea to accompany such treatments with the baseline supplementation regimen and nebulizations as mentioned above.

In the hospitalized setting, intravenous vitamin C and dexamethasone should always be part of the treatment regimen. Nebulizations with hydrogen peroxide and budesonide can accelerate recovery substantially. Also, patients already on ventilator support should always be given vitamin C and dexamethasone along with these nebulizations in addition to anything else felt to be indicated by the attending physician.

Low doses of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine along with zinc should always be given in the setting of high-risk exposure. Azithromycin can be taken with these agents as well. Higher doses of these agents should always be part of any regimen in the treatment of a suspected or diagnosed COVID-19 patient, whether asymptomatic or already in the hospital.

Recap

While the politics of the COVID-19 pandemic are beyond the scope and aim of this article, there remain no valid medical reasons for not using any of the agents or interventions itemized above for either preventing or treating COVID-19 patients. Furthermore, many combinations of these treatments can be applied, depending on their availability and the clinical status of a given patient. Traditional medicine insists on “proof” of any therapy before it is used routinely, even though this standard of proof is never actually obtained for many of the usual prescription drug approaches to infections and other diseases. When an agent is inexpensive, virtually harmless, and with substantial evidence of providing benefit, there is no justification for a physician to refuse or even actively block its administration to a patient otherwise assured of prolonged suffering and likely death (as with hospitalized COVID-19 patients on ventilation support).

With the treatment options available, there is no good reason for most people to even contract COVID-19, and there is certainly no good reason for anyone to die from this virus, much less have a prolonged clinical course of infection with a great deal of needless suffering.

Please note: None of the information in this article is intended to be utilized by anyone as direct medical advice. Rather, the article is intended only to make the reader aware of other treatment possibilities and documented scientific information that can be further discussed with a chosen health care professional.

This article was excerpted from a longer feature. For the complete article with additional treatment options, go to http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n37.shtml The article was provided by the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. To visit their archive, click here http://www.orthomolecular.org/ resources/omns/index.shtml and for the OMNS free subscription sign-up page http://www.orthomolecular.org/ forms/omns_subscribe.shtml

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s and not necessarily those of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service or all members of its Editorial Board. OMNS invites alternative viewpoints. Submissions may be sent directly to Andrew W. Saul, Editor, at the email contact address below.


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