China: Coronavirus increases sales of supplements for the immune system

The main focus of public attention right now focuses on the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus COVID-19 is a new type of coronavirus that was first detected last December in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, in China. The source of infection is under investigation.

There is a possibility that the initial source may be an animal, since the first cases were detected in people who worked in a market where there were live animals. Some coronaviruses are zoonotic viruses, which means they can be transmitted from animals to humans.

The most common symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, significant difficulty breathing, kidney failure and even death. The most serious cases usually occur in elderly people or who suffer from any other disease such as heart, lung or immunity problems.

Although it is not known precisely how the infection can be acquired, by analogy with other infections caused by similar viruses, it seems that the transmission would be through contact with infected animals or by close contact with the respiratory secretions that are generated with the cough or sneeze of a sick person. These secretions would infect another person if they come in contact with their nose, eyes or mouth. Although the infection is transmissible from person to person it is not very contagious. In order for it to occur, direct contact of the respiratory secretions of another infected person with the mucous membranes of another person (nose, mouth, eyes) is necessary. Airborne transmission over distances greater than one or two meters seems unlikely.

At the moment there is no specific treatment, but some antivirals that have shown some efficacy are being used (1). According to, some Chinese supplement companies have seen sales of their products for the immune system such as selenium or cordyceps increase, although for the moment the main demand is for face masks and hand sanitizers.

Less Chinese tourists buying supplements overseas

Another of the consequences of the virus to the industry is that Chinese tourists have stopped traveling outside their country and consequently it has been affected to the sales of supplements in countries such as Japan, Australia or New Zealand, where Chinese tourists are a source of income very Important for local stores.

(1) Source: Spanish Ministry of Health