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Correlation between Micronutrient plasma concentration and disease severity in COVID-19 patients

Abdullah Alkattan
Khaled Alabdulkareem
Amr Kamel
Heba Abdelseed
Yousef Almutairi
Eman Alsalameen


Objectives: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a new strain of betacoronavirus called SARS-CoV-2, which leads to mild to severe symptoms. Micronutrients in blood serum, namely, zinc, iron, copper, and selenium, play essential roles in the human body’s various organs. This study investigates the association between micronutrient levels and the severity of symptoms in SARS-CoV-2 infected patients.
Methods: A cross-section study was conducted during June–August 2020 in Riyadh city among 80 patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Within 24 hours of hospital admission, patients have been divided into non-severe and severe cases, and blood samples were drawn from each patient to measure the serum levels of copper, iron “in the form of ferritin,” selenium, and zinc.
Results: In both study groups, the mean copper and selenium serum levels were within the normal range, while the mean zinc and iron serum levels were elevated. A statistically significant difference was recorded between non-severe and severe cases regarding serum levels of iron and selenium (331.24 vs. 1174.95 ng/ml and 134 vs. 162 mcg/L, respectively, P < 0.0001). On the other hand, no significant difference was detected between both studied groups regarding serum level of zinc and copper (124.57 vs. 116.37 mcq/L and 18.35 vs. 18.2 mcmol/ L, respectively, P > 0.05).
Conclusions: There was a significant elevation of selenium and iron serum levels among severe cases compared to non-severe cases of COVID-19. High levels of iron and selenium could be correlated with the disease severity during infection with SARS-CoV-2.