Zinc and vitamins c, d recommended to treat/prevent COVID

28% advise daily Vitamin C for protection; traditional Chinese medicine used and found effective among nearly half of Chinese physicians

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – April 9, 2020 – Week two data of the Barometer study from 5,000 physicians in 30 countries conducted by Sermo reveals trends around over the counter products used and recommended for COVID-19. Sermo, the largest global healthcare polling company and social platform for physicians, has published unrestricted access to the results of its Real Time Barometer study on sermo.com.

While both the CDC and the WHO state that the only way to minimize the chances of contracting COVID-19 is to take preventative steps such as handwashing, social distancing, and cleaning surfaces, there seems to be emerging trends around physician recommendation and usage of vitamins, supplements, homeopathy as well as traditional Chinese medicine.

Key Findings:

  • Other than typical cold/flu medications (acetaminophen, anti-histamines, etc.) to treat COVID-19, physicians report having recommended or seen recommended to their patients Vitamin C (32%), Zinc (21%), and Vitamin D (19%)
  • By region (n=2506):
    • Vitamin C: US at 32% (NYC at 40%; California at 35%); Europe at 24%; and ROW at 34%
    • Zinc: US at 26% (NYC at 35%; California at 27%); Europe at 11%; and ROW at 16%
    • Vitamin D: US at 26% (NYC at 35%; California at 27%); Europe at 11%; and ROW at 19%
    • In terms of overall efficacy, 16% of physicians have seen Vitamin C as effective in treating COVID 19; 10% for Zinc and 8% for Vitamin D
  • 28% of physicians have recommend taking daily Vitamin C (supplements/fruits/vegetables) to protect themselves from COVID-19
  • 45% of Chinese COVID treaters have used or seen used traditional Chinese medicine to treat COVID; 52% found it effective (n=79)

Research on vitamin and supplement effects on Coronavirus has already begun, and past research exists on Zinc and cold viruses. A research team at Zhongnan Hospital in Wuhan, China, began a study on vitamin C treatments for COVID-19 on Feb. 14. The program is expected to be completed at the end of September. The team claims, “Vitamin C plays a role in reducing inflammatory response and preventing the common cold. A few studies have shown that vitamin C deficiency is related to the increased risk and severity of influenza infections.”

Anonymous physicians on Sermo commented:

“While there are no supplements or vitamins that can prevent you from getting COVID, I believe that Zinc can help diminish its symptoms and severity and ultimately help a patient recover. Zinc has been shown to inhibit viral replication of SARS, which is a cousin of COVID-19. As long as there are no contraindications, I would recommend taking zinc if someone is experiencing COVID symptoms. See the UC Health’s take on Zinc.”

“We know that stress, anxiety, poor nutrition and sleep can depress the immune system, which makes it easier to catch infections. Vitamins and supplements may strengthen our immune system and as such help protect us from infection.”


Most results are reported for individual countries with a minimum sample size of 250. A sample size of 250 point estimates have a precision of a +/- 6% precision at a 94% confidence level. Where sample sizes are smaller, N sizes are noted. Thirty countries included in the study are the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey, Poland, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Greece, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Australia, China, India, and Hong Kong. No incentive was offered to respondents. Full methodology.

About Sermo

Sermo is the largest healthcare data collection company and social platform for physicians, reaching 1,3MM HCPs across 150 countries. The platform enables doctors to anonymously talk real-world medicine, review treatment options via our proprietary Drug Ratings platform, collectively solve patient cases, and participate in medical market research. For more information, visit sermo.com.

Media Contact:

Niki Franklin

Racepoint Global on behalf of Sermo

+1 617 624 3264