Recently, a new Coronavirus was identified as the cause of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
- In the absence of a specific treatment for SARS, the possibility that vitamin C may show non-specific effects on severe viral respiratory tract infections should be considered.
- There are numerous reports indicating that vitamin C may affect the immune system.
- Studies in animals found that vitamin C modifies susceptibility to various viral and bacterial infections.
- Placebo-controlled trials have shown quite consistently that the duration and severity of common cold episodes are reduced in the vitamin C groups, indicating that viral respiratory infections in humans are affected by vitamin C levels.
- There is also evidence indicating that vitamin C may affect pneumonia.
-In particular, three controlled trials with human subjects reported a significantly lower incidence of pneumonia in vitamin C-supplemented groups, suggesting that vitamin C may affect susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.
-The possibility that vitamin C affects severe viral respiratory tract infections would seem to warrant further study, especially in light of the recent SARS epidemic.