No evidence of covid protective effect by Vitamin D. Zinc, Vitamin C

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New study data clearly show that many agents – other than those thought – are ineffective for covid 19 infection.

Zinc, vitamin C, or vitamin D make no difference in covid 19 courses or as corona prophylaxis. That’s what studies from the United States show. Researchers have also been disappointed in plasma from people who have already survived the disease.

The search for ways to influence the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection or covid-19 with drugs has brought a wide variety of agents into discussion over the past year. Some important study data have been published in recent days. In any case it is fixed: Vitamin C and/or zinc or vitamin D do not help. It also looks bad for plasma from Covid-19 recovered patients.

In lay circles, but also in some medical circles, the high-dose intake of zinc and/or vitamin C in SARS-CoV-2 infections has been discussed in the recent past as a potential prophylactic against severe courses of the disease. In the case of vitamin C, this has been the case repeatedly over the past decades in a wide variety of diseases. Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant. Zinc is said to strengthen certain immune cells.

However, a study by clinics of the Cleveland Group (Cleveland/Ohio and Weston/Florida) has now put a stop to its use. It has been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study included 214 SARS-CoV-2-infected patients. Their average age was 45 years. In four equally sized groups, they received either 50 milligrams of zinc, eight grams of ascorbic acid, both, or just the standard treatment without these agents every day for ten days.

Study showed no differences in corona symptoms
No matter what the subjects received, the results were similar. No statistically significant difference was obtained: Without any intervention, covid 19 symptoms improved by 50 percent on average within 6.7 days. With vitamin C this was the case after 5.5 days, with zinc after 5.9 days and in the combination of the two substances again after 5.5 days, as the German Pharmazeutische Zeitung also wrote a few days ago.

No effect of vitamin D
Very similar results – no effect – were registered by Brazilian physicians with a single high-dose vitamin D administration in hospitalized covid-19 patients with supplemental oxygen requirements. This study also appeared recently in JAMA. 240 patients had received either a one-time 200,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D3 to swallow or a placebo. But this also showed that vitamin administration did not result in a shorter hospital stay, fewer admissions to an intensive care unit, or lower mortality.

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve already seen how biological plausibility and observational data often don’t translate into better treatment outcomes in studies with placebo controls and random assignment of patients to comparison groups,” Patricia Kritek of the American Society of Pulmonary Specialists wrote in a commentary in the Journal Watch online journal of the New England Journal of Medicine.

No demonstrable effect of plasma transfusion
In June of last year, so-called convalescent plasma – blood plasma from patients who had recovered from Covid-19 – made it to a press conference in Austria. The antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 contained in it should help seriously ill patients. Individual cases were presented as examples of the positive effect of Covid-19, and there was a strong call for plasma donations. The principle of convalescent plasma is ancient and has been used in the past to treat a wide variety of infectious diseases.

However, science currently argues against a broadly demonstrable effect of convalescent plasma. Again, a meta-analysis of four published studies on how efficacy (peer reviewed publications) involving 1,060 patients has recently appeared in JAMA. This was supplemented by data from a further six as yet unpublished scientific studies involving many thousands of treated patients.

Conclusion: There was only a statistically non-significant difference in mortality of seven percent between patients treated with plasma in the first four published scientific studies and those who received none. When the information from 10,722 patients with or without plasma treatment was analyzed, the difference was two percent. There was also no effect on any other criteria for progression of covid-19 disease, Perrine Janiaud and her co-authors noted.

Ivermectin not better than placebo
Currently under discussion is also the ancient parasite/worm drug ivermectin. It has been used in tropical medicine for decades. It has been particularly beneficial in rolling back river blindness in Africa. In 2015, its discoverers were honored with the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

As early as April last year, laboratory tests also suggested that the substance might have an effect against SARS-CoV-2. Since then, a heated discussion has raged from study to study about whether or not such an effect can also be proven beyond doubt in placebo-controlled studies.

Corona study in Colombia
A randomized and placebo-controlled study from Colombia with 400 Covid 19 patients (JAMA Network) showed no significant effect with the use of 300 micrograms of ivermectin per kilogram of body weight daily for five days. An 82 percent disappearance of disease symptoms within three weeks with ivermectin and 79 percent with placebo did not represent a significant difference.

Since this publication, the debate about ivermectin has intensified again. It has been listed as a possible treatment option by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), but with the caveat of still insufficient data for a definitive evaluation. A meta-analysis of studies with the substance conducted by British scientists yielded weak to moderate evidence for a positive effect in Covid 19 patients. But further scientific studies with hopefully convincing results are still pending.

sources: APA, vienna.at/derstandard.at/picture: pixabay.com

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