Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Zinc Supplements Safe for HIV-Infected Children


Supplements Reduce Frequency of Diarrhea Without Adverse Impact on Viral Load

Zinc-deficient children living in communities where they do not receive adequate amounts of zinc from their diet should be given supplements, even if they are HIV-infected, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions. Previously, it was not known if zinc would speed up HIV disease progression in children by increasing their viral load. Zinc supplementation is known to decrease the frequency of diarrhea and pneumonia in uninfected children. The study is published in the November 26, 2005, issue of The Lancet.

“We set out to look at the safety and impact of zinc supplements in children with HIV. Not only did we learn that zinc is safe for these children, but we also realized that this may be a low-cost intervention to reduce morbidity in HIV-infected children who don’t have access to antiretroviral therapy or are not eligible for treatment,” said William J. Moss, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and an assistant professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology.

The researchers completed a randomized, double-bind, placebo-controlled trial of zinc supplementation at an urban hospital in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The 96 children in the study were cared for on a monthly outpatient basis by a team of medical doctors and nurses. Parents were taught how and when to give the 10-mg zinc or placebo tablets to their child every day for six months. The children were seen at the hospital every two weeks for the first month, monthly for five months and, as a final visit, nine months after zinc or placebo supplementation began. At each follow-up visit, parents were asked about illnesses since the last visit. In addition, HIV-1 RNA in plasma and CD4+ T lymphocyte cell counts were measured one month before the study, at the first study visit and three, six and nine months after the start of supplementation.

The study authors found no increase in plasma HIV-1 viral load measurements in the children receiving zinc, meaning that zinc supplementation is safe for HIV-infected children. The CD4+ T lymphocytes and hemoglobin concentrations also were similar between the two study groups. Importantly, HIV-infected children who received zinc supplementation were less likely to get watery diarrhea.

“Programs to increase zinc supplementation in populations with a high prevalence of HIV infection can and should be implemented, and can be done so now that we know zinc does not have an adverse effect on HIV replication. Also, in light of the fact that zinc is known to reduce episodes of diarrhea and pneumonia, zinc supplementation should be used as an adjunct therapy for children with HIV infection,” said Moss.

The study was funded by the Johns Hopkins Family Health and Child Survival Cooperative Agreement with the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition Global Health Bureau at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Robert E. Black, MD, MPH, chair of the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health, co-authored the study. Additional co-authors are Raziya Bobat, Hoosen Coovadia, Cindy Stephen, Kimesh L. Naidoo and Neil McKerrow.

Public Affairs media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Kenna Lowe or Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or

Kenna Lowe | EurekAlert!
Further information:

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>