Is copper beneficial for COVID-19 patients?

Med Hypotheses. 2020 Sep;142:109814. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109814. Epub 2020 May 5.


Copper (Cu) is an essential micronutrient for both pathogens and the hosts during viral infection. Cu is involved in the functions of critical immune cells such as T helper cells, B cells, neutrophils natural killer (NK) cells, and macrophages. These blood cells are involved in the killing of infectious microbes, in cell-mediated immunity and the production of specific antibodies against the pathogens. Cu-deficient humans show an exceptional susceptibility to infections due to the decreased number and function of these blood cells. Besides, Cu can kill several infectious viruses such as bronchitis virus, poliovirus, human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV-1), other enveloped or nonenveloped, single- or double-stranded DNA and RNA viruses. Moreover, Cu has the potent capacity of contact killing of several viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. Since the current outbreak of the COVID-19 continues to develop, and there is no vaccine or drugs are currently available, the critical option is now to make the immune system competent to fight against the SARS-CoV-2. Based on available data, we hypothesize that enrichment of plasma copper levels will boost both the innate and adaptive immunity in people. Moreover, owing to its potent antiviral activities, Cu may also act as a preventive and therapeutic regime against COVID-19.

Keywords: Blood cells; COVID-19; Contact killing; Copper; Coronavirus; Cu-deficiency; CuONPs; Cupric chloride; Immunity; ROS; SARS‐CoV‐2; Th1/Th2 cells; Viral infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Copper / therapeutic use*
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy*
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / drug therapy*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Copper

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment