Researchers have had a look at the global data for coronavirus patients and have found evidence that indicates that vitamin D levels may play a pivotal role in COVID-19 death rates.
A research team at Northwestern University performed a statistical analysis on data from hospitals and clinics from China, France, Italy, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. What the researchers found was that patients that were from countries that have high COVID-19 death rates had lower vitamin D levels compared to patients that were from countries that had low death rates.
Northwestern's Vadim Backman, the leader of the research, said, "While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don't need to push vitamin D on everybody." The researchers urged everyone that this finding doesn't mean that everyone should be rushing out to buy vitamin D supplements. "This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets."
Backman and his team also found a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm, which is when the immune system becomes overactive and begins to damage the human body. Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate in Backman's laboratory, said, "Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients. This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system."
Backman said, "Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half. It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected."
On top of that, Backman also says that this discovery may explain why children are less likely to die from COVID-19. Children don't have a fully developed immune system, "Children primarily rely on their innate immune system. This may explain why their mortality rate is lower."
If you are interested in reading more about this study, check out this link here.
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