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European Biopharmaceutical Review

The Potential of Zinc Ions for Prophylaxis and Treatment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

The discovery that SARS is caused by a coronavirus, related to a group of viruses causing the common cold, may be significant in relation to evidence that zinc ions provide a natural protective mechanism against viruses - especially those such as rhinoviruses that cause respiratory tract infections. The effect of zinc is multi-factorial and is based on direct antiviral effects of zinc ions; amplification and maintenance of immunity; augmentation of interferon activity; and a natural defence mechanism at the cell membrane level. It is suggested that the SARS virus be tested for sensitivity to zinc ions. Because zinc deficiency is a worldwide public health problem, it is worth considering zinc supplementation as a prophylactic and therapeutic measure in the SARS outbreak. In order to maximise zinc absorption and possible local zinc ion action in the buccal cavity, it is suggested that the supplementation should be in the form of 9 to 15mg strength zinc lozenges designed to release divalent zinc ions.


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By Dr George Rowland, Chairman and Co-Founder of ZinCare International Ltd

Dr George Rowland is Chairman and Co-Founder of ZinCare International Ltd UK, and Immunotech cc South Africa; companies specialising in the health benefits of zinc, in association with Zeon Healthcare Ltd. Dr Rowland received his PhD in Biochemistry from University College, London in 1961.

After 12 years in academic research and one year at the Walter & Elisa Hall Institute, Melbourne, he moved into research in the UK pharmaceutical industry at GD Searle and later as Head of Immunology at Eli Lilly. In 1985 he moved to South Africa to become a Founding Director of Bioclones, South Africa's first biotechnology company, before leaving in 2000 to concentrate on his present activities.
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Dr George Rowland
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