APhA coronavirus watch: What to know about zinc and COVID-19

Does zinc have any effect on COVID-19 disease? In a recent episode of APhA’s 15 on COVID-19 educational series, Daniel Zlott, PharmD, BCOP, vice president of professional education resources at APhA, provided information on the possible use of zinc to treat COVID-19. The bottom line, said Zlott, is that there is currently no data, either in vitro or in vivo, to support it.

In the webinar, available through APhA’s coronavirus resources site at www.pharmacist.com/coronavirus, Zlott reviewed 7 recently published studies that discuss the relationship of zinc to COVID-19. These studies range from enhanced immunity in viral infections, using zinc additives to improve the efficacy of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, and the use of peptide-like and small-molecule inhibitors to fight COVID-19, to analyzing molecular targets and the therapeutic potential of tetracylines in treating the disease. 

None of the evidence indicates that zinc inhibits SARS-CoV-2 viral replication, prevents viral infection, alleviates clinical symptoms, or alters the disease course of COVID-19. More data is needed to establish any relationship between zinc and treatment of the disease.