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Dr. Seth Armah (Nutrition) received new funding from the NC Policy Collaboratory for the project “Nutrition and COVID-19 in North Carolina.”

A wide range of health outcomes have been described after infection with the novel COVID-19 virus, ranging from patients who are asymptomatic, to those with severe respiratory illness and death. The impact of nutrition on health outcomes in individuals infected with COVID-19 virus remains largely unknown. Micronutrients such as selenium and zinc influence immune function and inflammatory status.

In this project, researchers will examine how dietary intake and status of these two micronutrients affect the severity of COVID-19 illness in a population of North Carolinians. Researchers will conduct a case-control observational study among individuals in North Carolina who have been infected with COVID-19. Individuals who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms will serve as controls to individuals who experienced more severe symptoms (N= 50 per group). Researchers will assess dietary zinc and selenium intake using food frequency questionnaire and collect toenail samples for the measurement of selenium and zinc concentrations. Regression analysis will be used to determine the relationship between intake and status of the two micronutrients and the severity of COVID-19 infection. Researchers anticipate that frequent consumption and adequate status of selenium and zinc will be associated with lower severity of symptoms during COVID-19 infection.

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