Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 19. doi: 10.1111/bcp.14826. Online ahead of print.
An outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19 or 2019-CoV) infection has posed significant threats to international health and the economy. Patients with COVID-19 are at risk of cytokine storm, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), reduced blood oxygenation, mechanical ventilation, and a high death rate. Although recent studies have shown remdesivir & dexamethasone as treatment options, there is an urgent need to find a treatment to inhibit virus replication and to control the progression of the disease. Essential biometal zinc has generated a lot of excitement as one of the promising candidates to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection. Several published observations outlined in the review are the reasons why there is a global enthusiasm that zinc therapy could be a possible therapeutic option. However, the biggest challenge in realising the therapeutic value of zinc is lack of optimal treatment modalities such as dose, duration of zinc supplementation and the mode of delivery. In this review, we discuss the regulatory mechanism that hinges upon the bioavailability of zinc. Finally, we propose that intravenous zinc could circumvent the confounding factors affecting the bioavailability of zinc and allow zinc to achieve its therapeutic potential. If successful, due to advantages such as lack of toxicity, low cost and ease of availability, intravenous zinc could be rapidly implemented clinically.