Throughout history, new and deadly viruses have continually emerged via mutation of their genes and they will continue to do so. The most infamous viral pandemic known colloquially as The Spanish Flu (January 1918 – December 1920) infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide (about one-third of the planet's population). It is thought that it killed 20 million to 50 million people over these 2 years.

The latest virus to worry officials is the new coronavirus in China which has manifested in December 2019. Thai health authorities are ramping up monitoring at Thai airports for the new mystery virus from China ahead of Lunar New Year, during which Chinese visitors in large numbers visit Thailand. This increased vigilance comes days after a Chinese woman was quarantined in Thailand with the new mystery strain of the coronavirus; this was its first detection outside of China.

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that can cause respiratory infections ranging from mild to severe. The virus that causes SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a coronavirus. SARS started in China in 2002 and has killed over 800 people worldwide.

In the Chinese city of Wuhan 41 people have been diagnosed with pneumonia thought to be caused by the new virus and there is the possibility of human-to-human transmission of this new virus.

Research has proven that malnutrition contributes to the emergence of new viral infections.

Selenium deficiency creates a weakening of the defense against infectious diseases, especially those caused by viruses. Selenium deficiency may lead to viral genome mutations from a benign (mild) virus to a highly virulent (dangerous) virus. An adequate supply of macro- and micronutrients is vital to support host immune defense and resistance against dangerous disease-causing microorganisms. The modern-day diet is often not sufficient to meet the increased demands for micronutrients in infectious diseases. Many areas of the world have selenium deficient soils.

Dietary multimicronutrient supplements containing selenium up to 100 to 200 μg/day have potential as safe and inexpensive additional therapy in viral infections. Dietary supplementation with selenium-containing multimicronutrients might also be useful to strengthen the immune system of patients suffering from newly emerging viral diseases, such as in the current epidemic of Ebola fever in West Africa. Populations in several countries most afflicted by past and current outbreaks of Ebola fever (e.g., Liberia, Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo) show a high risk of selenium deficiency. Interestingly, the lowest dietary selenium supply in Africa was reported from Liberia, with a daily intake of only 23 μg Se.

People battling with the aftermath of an acute or chronic viral infection with such viruses as the Epstein Barr Virus (glandular fever), Coxsackievirus, herpes, Ross river, etc may be able to improve far more quickly with supplemental selenium. I would also ensure plenty of zinc and vitamin C for their proven anti-viral effects.

References:
Adv Nutr. 2015 Jan; 6(1): 73–82.
Published online 2015 Jan 7. doi: 10.3945/an.114.007575
The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 133, Issue 5, May 2003, Pages 1463S–1467S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/133.5.1463S
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