The results released on Tuesday conclude that a high dose of vitamin D within 72 hours of diagnosis of Covid-19 significantly reduces the risk of death.
The results of the COVIT-TRIAL study published in the journal were unveiled on Tuesday, May 31st Plos Medicine Vitamin D is effective in limiting mortality from Covid-19 infection in the elderly.
“This result is important and consistent with what we know about the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D, very significantly reducing the risk of death at 14 days, and clearly avoiding the inflammatory rush,” he wrote in a press release Professor Cédric Annweiler, head of the geriatrics department at the Angers University Hospital, is behind the study.
A track planned from the beginning of the epidemic
From the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, the vitamin D trail appeared in the medical profession as a possible treatment to limit the effects of the infection. Cédric Annweiler recalls that, as early as March 2020, he considered this possibility, due to the vitamin properties that were known at the time.
Synthesized in the human body from the sun’s rays, vitamin D is known for its anti-inflammatory effects in infectious and cancerous diseases. Specifically, to return to the human body, Covid-19 uses the ACE2 protein, which it deregulates. However, vitamin D has the opposite effect. It regulates the expression of ACE2, and thus limits the effects of Covid-19 in humans.
“That’s why we quickly imagined, as early as March 2020, that vitamin D could help fight the severe forms of Covid-19,” adds Professor Annweiler.
National Research Priority Study
Launched in April 2020, the COVIT-TRIAL study, a national priority research by the state, was designed to assess the effect on mortality of high-dose vitamin D in patients with of Covid-19, but also to measure the safety of the administration of a large amount of vitamin.
To do this, 260 patients were treated between April and December 2020 in nine French hospitals. Those of Angers, Bordeaux, Limoges, Nantes, Nice, Saint-Etienne, Tours, Le Mans and Saumur, as well as the Ehpads dependent on these establishments.
Selected patients were either 65 years of age or older with “unfavorable outcome criteria,” or patients 75 years of age or older. All affected by Covid-19.
These volunteers were then divided into two groups. Those receiving a high dose of vitamin D within 72 hours of diagnosis, and those receiving a normal dose. From the 6th day of treatment, the results were convincing. Doctors observed “a significant and statistically significant reduction in the risk of death” in the group receiving a high dose of vitamin D.
The effect on mortality lasts for 14 days, and this without the side effect of massive vitamin D intake. It is only after 28 days that the effectiveness decreases.
A deficiency that can be considered a comorbidity
Results that lead to a clear conclusion. The study’s authors recommend early administration of a high dose of vitamin D, described as “a simple and safe treatment” for Covid-19 infection in the elderly. Especially since vitamin D also helps regulate cellular immunity.
More broadly, a vitamin D deficiency in a patient could lead to co-morbidity with Covid-19, as could obesity. Except that unlike vitamin D deficiency, it can be treated quickly. “Hypovitaminosis (deficiency, ed.) D is a risk factor that can be easily modified by simple drug supplementation,” the study’s press release said.
These results are a hope for the few thousand patients still hospitalized in France with Covid-19, 14,850 on June 1. “If the last wave of the Covid-19 epidemic is running out of steam“Hospitalizations of patients with Covid-19 – especially the elderly – have never stopped,” the statement said.