Will dietary supplements become the new weapon against Covid-19? The answer may be yes, according to scientists from Tel Aviv University.
In Pharmaceuticals, professors Ehud Gazit, Eran Bacharach and Daniel Segal reported on their lab experiment using a dietary supplement containing zinc, copper and flavonoids, the polyphenolic compounds found in fruits and vegetables like cashews, pumpkin, peas and beets.
The scientists, including PhD students Topaz Kreiser and Dor Zaguri and other researchers, found that the supplement could enhance immunity to viral infections like Covid-19 as well as the flu and other winter illnesses.
Viruses like Covid-19 are rapidly changing, the scientists said. They decided to develop active vaccines made of safe dietary supplements that would reduce the viral load in the body and cut down contagion.
Segal said there was a “50-95% decrease in the genomic replication of various groups of RNA viruses” using the treatment.
Gazit, who also heads TAU’s Blavatnik Center for Drug Discovery, said that scientists “have known for years that food supplements containing zinc can enhance immunity to severe, viral, and chronic infections.” The researchers added copper to prevent an ionic imbalance and improve the treatment’s effectiveness.
The researchers conducted the experiment in vitro (in the lab) and hope to do clinical trials in humans. Because these supplements are safe and natural and can be bought over the counter, the scientists decided to announce the findings to the public before doing clinical trials.
“We believe that the product can serve as a supplementary treatment to enhance the effect of existing antiviral vaccines and medications,” Bacharah said.