*Selenium and Selenium-Containing Enzymes vs viruses- A New Concept of Three Defense Lines against Viruses

Dr. Enthan Will Taylor, a pharmaceutics and biomedicine professor with the Medical College of American Arizona University and a well-known virologist, won the ¡°Annual Chemist¡± prize of the N.E. Georgia Branch of American Chemistry Association in 1996 and the ¡°Annual Denham Harman Tutor¡± in medicine of the American Institutions of Higher Learning in 1997. ?
In 1994, Dr. Enthan Will Taylor put forward the famous ¡°Virus selenoprotein theory¡±, the main content is: some patients with diseases induced by viruses such as AIDS virus, influenza virus, ebola virus and hepatitis virus are short of selenium, and for them, selenium supplement is conducive to the inhibition of virus reproduction. This is because selenium supplement not only can serves as a protection through raising the immunity of the organism, but especially acts directly on the viruses, that is to say, in the actual organism with selenium, the virus proteins can get sufficient selenium, with the virus reproduction being inhibited, whereas in the organism in short of selenium, the virus proteins are unable to get sufficient selenium, with the virus reproduction quickened.
We exchanged our views on this situation with Dr. Chen Junshi of the Chinese Disease Prevention and Control Center. Dr. Chen was extremely excited and reported at once to relevant leaders in the Ministry of Public Health and attracted great attention from relevant departments. Almost within 24 hours, a project was established in the Science and Technology Department to undertake a study on the relationship of ¡°selenium and SARS¡±.
At the end of 2002, an unexpected SARS disaster engulfed China, East Asia, North America and other areas of the whole world. This new concept on epidemic diseases made a great impact on the original knowledge and disease prevention system of human being, posed a serious challenge to the scientists in the field of studies on the virus generation and disease prevention. To understand the origin of SARS and expose the pathogenic factor was an urgent task for the scientists all over the world, and almost all those who stood at the frontier of anti-SARS became the men of the day.
The scientists on our country published theses one month in advance on the ¡°Science¡±, the most authoritative magazine in the world, thinking that the pathopoiesia of SARS was related to mutation. This means the primary SARS viruses were effective to a limited number of people and only after had infected 3% of people, had they changed their nature. However, the SARS viruses had a mutation in human bodies, with their genes changed from the original to different ones. Only at that time, was the pathopoiesia of SARS viruses very strong, widely propagated and infectious once people had contact with them. Compared with the raise of immunity and the control of the symptomatic change of viruses, it is more important to reduce the damage of SARS.
In the middle of May 2003, the scientists of Shanghai Sitong Nanotechnology Port, under the leadership of Dr. Zhang Jinson of the Chinese University of Science and Technology, found selenium enzymes and their significant raise in the blood of SARS patients. This phenomenon was contrast to the previous reports, that is to say, viral diseases like SARS should had something to do with selenium, eg the selenium and enzymes in blood should decrease. However, compared the inspection results with normal persons, the contents of selenium and enzymes in the blood of SARS patients had raised. At that time we thought this phenomenon was very abnormal, and difficult to explain.
On July 10 and 11 2003, an ¡°International symposium on the prevention and control of SARS¡± was convened in Beijing. This two-days symposium was initiated by the Department of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Education, The Ministry of Public Health, Beijing Municipal Government, Chinese Academy of Science and Chinese Academy of Engineering, and was presided by Dr. Lan Lipkin, an American virologist and also the chairman of the Academic Symposium Committee. Present at the symposium were 300 biologists and medical experts from 19 countries and regions including China, the United States, Australia and Canada as well as the representatives from the WHO.
Dr. Enthan Will Taylor, a pharmaceutics and biomedicine professor with Georgia University and a well-known virologist and Dr. Zhang Jinsong of the Chinese University of Science and Technology (the first inventor of nanoselenium), were also invited to the symposium owing to their cooperation in the study on SARS viruses (this scientific research item was financed by Shanghai Sitong Nanotechnical Port Co., Ltd and the Chinese University of Science and Technology and supported by several units in Guangdong Province). Dr. Enthan Will Taylor made a speech at the meeting, and his thesis ¡°The two recessive genes of SARS coronaviruses are the molecular basis of the abnormal phenomenon of selenium contents in SARS patients¡± published in the proceedings of the symposium, had attracted wide attention from the presents.
Perhaps a lot of people might ask that since viruses use or ¡°need¡± selenium, why selenium supplement might reduce the activity of viruses, isn¡¯t this to ¡°feed¡± the viruses? To this question, Dr. Enthan Will explained that, first, compared with viruses, organisms are more in need of selenium, because the impact of selenium deficiency on the organisms is more powerful than that on the viruses; second, the greatest interesting of viruses is not to kill their host, because this will annihilate themselves. The key to the question does not lie in ¡°feeding¡± selenium to viruses, but that the viruses use selenium to detect the health conditions of their host. If the infected cells can get enough nutrition and have no worries about death, it is not essential for the viruses to invade new cells. Therefore, the reproduction of viruses will be reduced.
If the selenium is regarded as a route of dialogue between the host and viruses instead of a kind of nutrition or food for viruses, it will be conductive to our readers to understand. Under the conditions of rich selenium, when viruses are restrained, selenium will be able to enhance the immunity of human bodies and bring about many other benefits to the organisms. When the content of selenium is very low, not only the virus breeding can be controlled and weakened, but the immunity of our bodies lowered as well, thus quickening the reproduction of viruses. Evidently, it is the best chance for viruses to burst, because selenium deficiency has already resulted in the lowering of immunity. It can be seen that large dosage of selenium can improve immunity and force the reproduction of viruses to keep at a lower level.
This is the mechanism the selenium has in its control of SARS disease.
In fact, the study on the selenium and viral diseases had started 50 years ago, when scientists explored the relationship between selenium and viral diseases including the notorious Keshan disease which came on in Keshan County in our country. Keshan County is located in a low selenium area, where not only selenium is lacking, but a kind of kesha virus exists. Originally, this kind of virus has not a strong pathogenicity, but once it get into the organisms short of selenium, it will change suddenly into a virus strong in pathogenicity, causing myocardial necrosis to patients. This disease has a double pathogeny, namely the mutation incurred by the selenium-controlled diseases. That is to say, when some viruses enter an organism sufficient in? selenium, they will remain a stable state, and when they enter an organism short of selenium, they will suddenly change into malignant viruses, or stronger pathogenic viruses.
Prof. Chen Junshi, a well-known foodstuff safety expert in our country, published an article during the period of SARS, holding that selenium, the only nutrition having direct relation with viral infection, has a non-fungible unique function in respect of anti-cancer. During the mutation of SARS viruses in human bodies, the viruses change from the original viruses to stronger pathogenic viruses with their genes different from the original ones. This nature and its pathogenic mechanism are similar to that of viral diseases such as Keshan disease. Since selenium has special effect on Keshan disease, the selenium should have a function in controlling SARS viruses.
Prof. Chen showed great concern for our nano-selenium and organized the Chinese Disease Prevention and Control Center to conduct a comparison between the nano-selenium and the inorganic selenium (sodium selenite) and organic selenium (nano-protein). The results were exciting: the nano-selenium has an advantage over the existing inorganic selenium and organic selenium in aspect of safety.
Selenium, with its anti-oxidation nature 500 times stronger than that of Vitamins E, is mainly used for anti-oxidation and adjustment of immunity, and especially for anti-mutation of viral diseases. Dr. Zhang Jjinsong has vividly summarized the function of selenium against viral diseases as three defense lines.
The concept of the three defense lines is: the first defense line is to prevent viruses from entering organism; the second is to reduce the damage caused by the entry of viruses through the strengthening of anti-oxidation; the third is to restrain the mutation of viruses through selenium supplement because the viruses that are prone to mutation in the organisms will mutate much more quickly and significantly in case of lack of selenium, and will lead to much greater damage to the organisms. If we have enough selenium, the mutation can be inhibited.

Extracted from ¡°Medicine World¡±, P15-17, issue 10, 2004