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Review finds many patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 have lower levels of vitamin D

Patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection had considerably lower levels of 25(OH)D (activated vitamin D) than those who were not infected, according to the study.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the underlying virus which leads to the onset of COVID-19 in patients who contract the ailment, and since December 2019 has spread worldwide leading to the ongoing global pandemic.

With time, new variants of the disease have begun to sprout as characteristic spike proteins mutate to give the disease a new identity, raising fears that the vaccine may soon lose its effectiveness. Thus, new agents must be discovered which may help prevent the further spread of the novel COVID-19 virus, as well as better treat COVID-19 symptoms.

In a new meta-analysis, studies looking at Hypovitaminosis D (vitamin D deficiency) were systematically reviewed in an effort to determine its effects on SARS-CoV-2 and the worsening of clinical conditions related to the respiratory virus.

Out of the 662 publications assessed, 32 of them met the inclusion criteria and were thus included in the new meta-analysis published in, EClinicalMedicine. The researchers discovered that patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection had significantly lower serum levels of 25(OH)D (activated vitamin D) than those who were not infected. Furthermore, it was shown to be considerably lower in patients with severe illness and in COVID-19-related deaths. Patients with VDD had a higher chance of acquiring severe disease, but not death.

The paper states, “In addition to all the above-mentioned limits, intervention studies aimed at evaluating the possible benefits of vitamin D administration in the management of COVID-19 reported a reduction in infection and hospitalization rates.”

Vitamin D deficiency (VDD) is a global health concern that affects roughly 1 billion people globally, including nearly 42% of the U.S. population. COVID-19 has been linked to latitude and sun exposure in several studies. COVID-19-related mortality is higher in mid-latitude nations, where VDD is more prevalent.

The Meta-Analysis and Systematic Reviews of Observational Studies (MOOSE) criteria were used to conduct this research. From December 2019 to January 2021, the data were gathered by thorough searches in the Pubmed, MEDLINE, Cochrane, Academic One Files, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases.

The papers concluding thoughts suggested, “given the conflicting results of the studies and their several limitations, there is certainly a need for longitudinal trials that evaluate the relationship correlation between [vitamin D] levels before infection (but close to it) and the outcomes of COVID-19.”

The study was published in EClinicalMedicine, on June 18th, 2021.

Abstract. This meta-analysis revealed a large heterogeneity of the studies included due to the different enrolment criteria of patient samples (age, body mass index, ethnicity, comorbidities), the country where they live, all factors influencing serum 25(OH)D levels, and the different criteria used to define the severity of COVID-19. Furthermore, the observational nature of these studies does not allow to establish a cause-effect relationship, even taking into account that 25(OH)D represents a marker of acute inflammation. Treatment with vitamin D might be considered for the primary prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the management of patients with COVID-19. However, further intervention studies are needed to prove this hypothesis

Crafa, Andrea et al. “Influence of 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol levels on SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.” EClinicalMedicine vol. 37 (2021): 100967. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2021.100967

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