Home Dr Zelenko Fact Check: Has Dr. Zelenko Successfully Treated Coronavirus Patients

Dr Zelenko Fact Check: Has Dr. Zelenko Successfully Treated Coronavirus Patients

Onedaymd.com challenges Dr. Vladimir Zev Zelenko’s early treatment protocol.

“In an open letter to Trump dated March 23, 2020, and published online in various locations, Zelenko provided his first batch of assertions to support his treatment regime:

I developed the following treatment protocol in the pre-hospital setting and have seen only positive results. […]

The rationale for my treatment plan is as follows. […] We know that hydroxychloroquine helps Zinc enter the cell. We know that Zinc slows viral replication within the cell. Regarding the use of azithromycin, I postulate it prevents secondary bacterial infections. These three drugs are well known and usually well-tolerated, hence the risk to the patient is low.

Since last Thursday, my team has treated approximately 350 patients in Kiryas Joel and another 150 patients in other areas of New York with the above regimen. Of this group and the information provided to me by affiliated medical teams, we have had ZERO deaths, ZERO hospitalizations, and ZERO intubations. In addition, I have not heard of any negative side effects other than approximately 10% of patients with temporary nausea and diarrhea.

In sum, my urgent recommendation is to initiate treatment in the outpatient setting as soon as possible in accordance with the above. Based on my direct experience, it prevents acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), prevents the need for hospitalization and saves lives.


Dr. Vladimir Zelenko’s clinical data was peer-reviewed and published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents in December 2020.
The combination treatment regimen involving zinc, low-dose hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin (N=141) did result in significantly few hospitalizations and deaths as compared to the control group (N=377). 
Of 141 treated patients, 4 (2.8%) were hospitalized, which was significantly fewer (P < 0.001) compared with 58 (15.4%) of 377 untreated patients. One patient (0.7%) in the treatment group died versus 13 patients (3.4%) in the untreated group. No cardiac side effects were observed.

The Science behind Zinc, Quercetin, Vitamin D and C 

Some media channels argue that there is very little evidence to support the use of quercetin, zinc, vitamin D and C in supporting the immune system. We have included the scientific evidence together with the sources and references in this article below and we leave it up to you, the reader, to decide who is the ‘fact-checker’. 
Data, from peer reviewed studies, scientific data and clinical trials show that synergistic supplement combinations involving zinc and the zinc ionophore quercetin may be effective antiviral prevention and therapeutic agents against COVID-19. An ionophore transports molecules inside cell membranes. COVID-19 viral entry and replication in cells is inhibited by zinc – significantly reducing COVID-19 infection and mortality (Source). Generally, the more zinc that can be brought into respiratory cells, the better off a COVID-19 patient will be.
Quercetin, a natural anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory compound contained in abundance in various fruits and vegetables, is a zinc ionophore. Zinc ionophores help transport zinc inside the cells COVID-19 attacks – respiratory cells, providing significant antiviral action against COVID-19. Additionally, Quercetin has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of coronaviruses by inhibiting cellular entry as well as inhibiting proinflammatory cytokines. One of the hallmarks of COVID-19 is an imbalanced immune response cascading to cytokine storms and then hyper inflammation which then can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Quercetin has been shown to inhibit proinflammatory cytokine production as well as inflammation due to its antioxidant properties, amongst others. By inhibiting destructive inflammation and potentially the entire cascade, quercetin may prevent severe damage to the respiratory system amongst other organs (source). 
Recent clinical trial data shows that the combination of Vitamin C and Quercetin provided strong preventative protection against COVID-19 infection of healthcare workers when compared to the control group as shown below (source). Specifically, 1.4% (1 out of 71 healthcare workers) of healthcare workers using Quercetin and Vitamin C combination were infected with COVID-19 vs. 21.4% (9 out of 42 healthcare workers) of healthcare workers in the control group were infected with COVID-19 (Total Subjects, n = 113).

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, likely an immune system optimizer, and has been shown to work synergistically with quercetin, likely increasing quercetin’s bioavailability (source). As per Integrative Medicine’s 4th edition, quercetin is a poorly absorbed nutrient but Vitamin C increases the absorption of quercetin and recommends that Quercetin should be blended with Vitamin C (source). Specifically, there is evidence that vitamin C and quercetin co-administration exerts a synergistic antiviral action due to overlapping antiviral and immunomodulatory properties and the capacity of ascorbate to recycle quercetin, increasing its efficacy (source). It has been shown that Quercetin and Vitamin C markedly inhibited mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines – as the release of inflammatory cytokines are behind acute respiratory distress syndrome (source). The quercetin and vitamin C combination can prevent the exacerbation of inflammation. 

Zinc is a well-known supplement that is generally contained in standard multivitamins. It provides immune support amongst other functions. Zinc inhibits coronavirus replication and is a general stimulant of antiviral immunity (source). Higher levels of intracellular zinc showed to increase intracellular pH; which affect on RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and decreases the replication mechanism of RNA viruses (e.g. COVID-19). Therefore, zinc ionophores (e.g. Quercetin) can likely be used with zinc supplement to act as antiviral against many RNA viruses including influenza and COVID-19. Suggested benefits of zinc supplementation along with zinc ionophores to prevent and treat COVID-19 and other respiratory tract infections are supported by countless studies (source). In most cases, prophylactic and early use of zinc supplementation was more effective than late therapeutic proceedings. Up to 30% of the everyday respiratory infections, briefly named “common cold,” are due to infections with coronaviruses. Studies showed reduced symptom severity, reduced frequency, and duration of the common cold after zinc administration depending on dosage, zinc compound, and the start time after initial symptoms (source).
Zinc deficiency is very common, especially in the elderly, diabetics, cancer patients, asthma, immunosuppressed and obese – all of which have higher levels of mortality for COVID-19. Furthermore, zinc deficiency is associated with an increased risk of infectious disease, pneumonia, and severity of COVID-19. Conversely, zinc supplementation is associated with a significant decrease in COVID-19 mortality as long as it is delivered with a zinc ionophore (source).

In short, balanced zinc homeostasis is essential. Zinc supplementation improves the mucociliary clearance, strengthens the integrity of the epithelium, decreases viral replication, preserves antiviral immunity, attenuates the risk of hyper-inflammation, supports anti-oxidative effects, and thus reduces lung damage and minimizes secondary infections. Especially older subjects, patients with chronic diseases and most of the remaining COVID-19 risk groups would most likely benefit.

Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system as it initiates the adaptive immune response. Clinical trial data shows that Vitamin D supplementation is safe and protects against acute respiratory tract infection mortality whereas low levels of vitamin D are associated with a higher risk for infection and mortality (bmj.com). In addition, a meta-analysis of COVID-19 studies shows that over 90% of studies report positive effects of Vitamin D against COVID-19 (vdmeta.com).
The link between vitamin D and viral infections arose from the observation of the seasonality of vitamin D with lower levels in the winter and concomitant increases in influenza. Conversely, in summer, serum levels of Vitamin D increase and influenza virtually disappear, except during pandemics. Even in pandemics, most deaths occur during cold months.”