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A case for research into the role of vitamin D in severity of COVID-19

Since the emergence of what has come to be termed COVID-19, there has been lots of conspiracies, not only on the origin of the disease, but in addition, the factors contributing to and the treatment of the ailment. The importance of this post is to draw attention of the public in general and the research institutes in particular, regarding the need to look into the roles of vitamin D in the severity of this mysterious disease. The points are drawn from the limited data available from pubmed.

Regarding the significantly lower serum levels of vitamin D observed in patients with severe COVID-19, there postulations could be responsible:

1. The viral agent could be utilising the vitamin for its metabolic processes

2. The patients may have become so ill that they have become depleted of the vitamin as the tissue in the lung responsible for its production has become so inflamed that it fails to produce adequate amounts

3. Vitamin D levels are predictors of outcomes, in that lower levels are correlated with suboptimal immune response and thereby promoting cytokine storm that is characteristic of increased mortality

All of the above postulations deserve further research and although the last of them makes more robust meaning to the writer.

The following observations from recent data are reasons why vitamin D deserves attention:

1. The evidence that vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of influenza and COVID-19 infection and deaths were suggested by Grant et al (Nutrients, 2020) . Grant and colleagues advocated for randomized controlled trials.

2. Early nutritional supplementation in non-critically ill patients were associated with lower mortality (Coccialanza et al, Nutrition, 2020).

3. There remains a substantial variation in the severity of COVID-19 that has yet to be explained (Silberstein - Medical Hypothesis, 2020).

4. A restrospective comparison of vitamin D levels in previously obtained blood samples between survivors and confirmed fatalities could establish a rationale for implementation of widespread vitamin D supplementation; something that would be cheaper and more sustainable than the costly antivirals and anti-inflammatory agents.

5. The mean levels of vitamin D for 20 European countries and mortality caused by COVID-19 were studied recently and clear correlation was obtained; Vitamin D levels were severely low in aging populations of Spain, Italy and Switzerland. Moreover, negative correlations between mean vitamin D in each country and the number of COVID-19 cases /mortality were significantly observed.

The points enumerated above makes it imperative for those that mean well for low socio-economic populations to invest in such low -cost research, as it may determine a differential preventive modality rather than the current copy /paste global approach that has not produced equal benefits.

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