In December of 2019 the World Health Organization was alerted to an outbreak of viral pneumonia occurring in Wuhan, China. One year later the infection, caused by a novel coronavirus, had spread worldwide; 104 million confirmed cases of infection had been recorded and 2.2 million deaths. While most infections were mild, early research showed that severe complications and fatalities were due not to failure to control the virus but to a catastrophic overreaction of the immune system – a cytokine storm.
When operating effectively, the immune system represents biological teamwork at its best – a symphony of protective cells and biomolecules acting together to rapidly recognize potentially harmful microbes and eliminate them. But the orchestration of this response depends on a continuous supply of essential nutrients. This talk will focus the role of specific vitamins and minerals in initiating and controlling immune responses and the benefits and pitfalls of nutritional supplementation during COVID-19