Does Prophylactic Oral Zinc Reduce the Risk of Contracting COVID-19?
Sean D Adrean, Kenneth Schmitt, Caleb Ng, Ash Pirouz, Hema L Ramkumar, Scott Grant
In this study, we aimed to investigate whether zinc provided in Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS2) vitamins is associated with a decreased risk of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 .
Materials and methods We conducted a retrospective observational cohort study involving patients at a retina-only practice who were provided a questionnaire at each visit to assess whether they were symptomatic of or had contracted COVID-19. Those who answered yes to testing positive for COVID-19 were retrospectively analyzed and categorized based on their AREDS2 vitamin use, and a Pearson's chi-squared test was performed. Demographic data and past ocular history were also analyzed.
Results A total of 8,426 unique patients, including 2,111 with a diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), were seen from April 1, 2020, to April 9, 2021. A total of 110 patients (1.3%) reported contracting COVID-19 and had positive COVID-19 tests. The average age of those who had contracted COVID-19 in this study was 68.3 years; 51.8% were male, 30.1% had AMD, 28.2% had diabetic retinopathy, 24.5% had surgical retinal disease, 11.8% had retinal vascular disease, and 4.5% had other disease states. Of the COVID-19positive patients, 27.3% (30/110) took AREDS2 vitamins, while 72.7% (80/110) patients did not. A chisquared analysis was performed, which was not statistically significant (p=0.667).
Conclusions Oral zinc supplementation, in the form of AREDS2 vitamins, is not associated with a protective effect against contracting COVID-19.
Conclusions Oral zinc supplementation has been widely purported to reduce symptomatic viral days. It has also been recommended to be used as a prophylaxis for viral infections. It has been speculated that it may help reduce the chance of contracting COVID-19. Zinc is readily available over the counter and is used in the AREDS supplements for macular degeneration. Elderly patients are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19, and hence if zinc supplementation could reduce the chance of contracting COVID-19, that would be highly beneficial. However, based on our findings, oral zinc supplementation in the form of AREDS2 vitamins is not associated with a protective effect against contracting COVID-19.
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