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Zinc, Ascorbic Acid Do Not Cut Symptom Duration in SARS-CoV-2

No difference in length of time required to achieve 50 percent reduction in symptoms seen with supplements versus usual care

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — For ambulatory adults with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, treatment with high-dose zinc gluconate, ascorbic acid, or a combination does not reduce the duration of symptoms, according to a study published online Feb. 12 in JAMA Network Open.

Suma Thomas, M.D., from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues examined whether high-dose zinc and/or high-dose ascorbic acid reduce the severity or duration of symptoms compared to usual care among ambulatory patients with SARS-CoV-2. A total of 214 adults were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive either 10 days of zinc gluconate, ascorbic acid, both, or standard of care in a 1:1:1:1 ratio.

The study was stopped for a low conditional power for benefit, with no significant differences seen among the four groups for the primary end point (number of days required to reach a 50 percent reduction in symptoms). The researchers found that patients who received usual care without supplementation achieved a 50 percent reduction in symptoms at a mean of 6.7 days compared with 5.5, 5.9, and 5.5 days for those receiving ascorbic acid, zinc gluconate, and both supplements, respectively. No significant differences were seen between the groups in secondary outcomes.

“Based on the current study, these supplements cannot be recommended to reduce symptom morbidity in such patients,” the authors write. “High-dose zinc gluconate, ascorbic acid, or both supplements did not reduce SARS-CoV-2 symptoms.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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