AN, LONDON: A UK university is launching a major study into the potential link between vitamin D and protection against coronavirus.
The “Coronavit trial” will involve academics from Queen Mary University of London questioning whether increased vitamin D levels can lower the risk of winter respiratory infections, including coronavirus.
The project, funded by Barts Charity, a UK hospital fund, looks to test more than 5,000 people who will be sent vitamin D supplements by mail, avoiding the need for face-to-face contact.
“There is mounting evidence that vitamin D might reduce the risk of respiratory infections,” said the study’s lead researcher Prof. Adrian Martineau.
“Vitamin D deficiency is more common in older people, in people who are overweight, and in black and Asian people — all the groups who are at increased risk of becoming ill from the coronavirus.”
Dr. David Jolliffe, the project’s chief investigator, said the study has the potential to help the world battle the pandemic.
“Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible. If proven effective, they could significantly aid our global fight against the virus,” he added.
The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence said in June that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that vitamin D supplements work against coronavirus.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body creates it when exposed to sunlight.
It keeps bones, teeth and muscles in good shape by maintaining healthy calcium and phosphate levels.