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-Supports the immune system
-Fights infections
-Heals wounds
-Displays antiviral activity against the herpes virus


Zinc Research

Antiviral Res. 2012 Dec;96(3):363-75. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2012.09.020. Epub 2012 Oct 6.
Prophylactic, therapeutic and neutralizing effects of zinc oxide tetrapod structures against herpes simplex virus type-2 infection.
Antoine TE, Mishra YK, Trigilio J, Tiwari V, Adelung R, Shukla D.
Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL 60612, USA.
The attachment of Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) to a target cell requires ionic interactions between negatively charged cell surface co-receptor heparan sulfate (HS) and positively charged residues on viral envelop glycoproteins, gB and gC. Effective blocking of this first step of HSV-2 pathogenesis demonstrates significant prophylactic effects against the viral disease; any in vitro therapeutic effects of blocking this interaction, however, are not clear. Here, we provide new evidence that zinc oxide tetrapod micro-nanostructures synthesized by flame transport approach significantly block HSV-2 entry into target cells and, in addition, demonstrate the potential to stop the spread of the virus among already infected cells. The zinc oxide tetrapods (ZnOTs) also exhibit the ability to neutralize HSV-2 virions. Natural target cells such as human vaginal epithelial and HeLa cells showed highly reduced infectivity when infected with HSV-2 virions that were pre-incubated with the ZnOTs. The mechanism behind the ability of ZnOTs to prevent, neutralize or reduce HSV-2 infection relies on their ability to bind the HSV-2 virions. We used fluorescently labeled ZnOTs and GFP-expressing HSV-2 virions to demonstrate the binding of the ZnOTs with HSV-2. We also show that the binding and hence, the antiviral effects of ZnOTs can be enhanced by illuminating the ZnOTs with UV light. Our results provide new insights into the anti-HSV-2 effects of ZnOT and rationalize their development as a HSV-2 trapping agent for the prevention and/or treatment of infection. The observed results also demonstrate that blocking HSV-2 attachment can have prophylactic as well as therapeutic applications.

Zinc might also have effects against viruses. It appears to lessen symptoms of the rhinovirus (common cold), but researchers can’t yet explain exactly how this works. In addition, there is some evidence that zinc has some antiviral activity against the herpes virus.

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