Not for the first time, Zinc is referred to as a Wonder Drug

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2012

 

Zinc helps kids fight infections

by Kounteya Sinha

Times of India, 1 June 2012

 

Zinc has now been found to be the wonder drug for children suffering from serious bacterial infections. The first study to assess the efficacy of zinc in addition to standard antibiotic therapy for suspected bacterial infections like pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis has found that  children given zinc were 40% less likely to experience treatment failure (  the need for secondary antibiotic treatment within 7 days, need for treatment in intensive care, or death within 21 days) than those given placebo. There was also a relative reduction (of 43%) in risk of death in the group assigned to zinc.

The study was conducted by the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute and All India Institute of Medical Sciences in India, and will be announced by British medical journal the Lancet on Thursday.

“Zinc is an accessible, low-cost intervention that could add to the effect of antibiotic treatment and lead to substantial reductions in infant mortality, particularly in developing countries where millions of children die from serious infections every year,” explains Shinjini Bhatnagar who led the research. 

Christa Fischer Walker and Robert Black from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA say, “This finding is important because case fatality is high in infants presenting with symptoms of probable serious bacterial infection”. They added, “The exact mechanism for the effect of supplemental zinc is unknown and needs further investigation, but the clinical benefits in diarrhoea and pneumonia in children younger than 5 years suggest that therapeutic use of zinc could have wide application.