Should we supplement zinc in COVID-19 patients? Evidence from a meta-analysis

Pol Arch Intern Med. 2021 Sep 30;131(9):802-807. doi: 10.20452/pamw.16048. Epub 2021 Jun 28.


Introduction: Preliminary retrospective reports showed that zinc supplementation may decrease mortality in patients with COVID-19, postulating the potential therapeutic efficacy of zinc in the management of the disease.

Objectives: We sought to summarize the studies published to date regarding the antiviral activity of zinc in patients with COVID-19.

Patients and methods: A meta-analysis was performed to compare the outcomes of hospitalized patients receiving zinc supplementation and those treated with standard care. The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes were in-hospital mortality and length of stay in hospital or intensive care unit (ICU).

Results: Data relating to 1474 patients included in 4 studies were analyzed. Survival to hospital discharge was 56.8% in the zinc group compared with 75.9% in the nonzinc group (P = 0.88). In-hospital mortality was 22.3% in the zinc group compared with 13.6% in the standard care group (P = 0.16). The mean (SD) length of hospital stay was 7.7 (3.7) days in the zinc group and 7.2 (3.9) days in the standard treatment group (P <⁠0.001). The mean (SD) length of ICU stay was 4.9 (1.7) days in the zinc group and 5.8 (1.9) days in the standard care group (P = 0.009).

Conclusions: Zinc supplementation did not have any beneficial impact on the course of COVID-19 evaluated as survival to hospital discharge and in-hospital mortality. The zinc-supplemented group had longer hospital stay despite shorter ICU stay. At present, there are no evidence-based data to support routine zinc supplementation in patients with COVID-19.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Zinc


  • Zinc