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Short Communication: Vitamin D and COVID-19 infection and mortality in UK Biobank

By Claire E Hastie, Jill Pell, Naveed Sattar

Posted 28 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.26.20140921

Purpose Vitamin D has been proposed as a potential causal factor in COVID-19 risk. We aimed to establish whether blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration was associated with COVID-19 mortality, and inpatient confirmed COVID-19 infection, in UK Biobank participants. Methods UK Biobank recruited 502,624 participants aged 37-73 years between 2006 and 2010. Baseline exposure data, including 25(OH)D concentration, were linked to COVID-19 mortality. Univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were performed for the association between 25(OH)D and COVID-19 death, and poisson regression analyses for the association between 25(OH)D and severe COVID-19 infection. Results Complete data were available for 341,484 UK Biobank participants, of which 656 had inpatient confirmed COVID-19 infection and 203 died of COVID-19 infection. Vitamin D was associated with severe COVID-19 infection and mortality univariably (mortality HR=0.99; 95% CI 0.98-0.998; p=0.016), but not after adjustment for confounders (mortality HR=0.998; 95% CI=0.99-1.01; p=0.696). Conclusions Our findings do not support a potential link between vitamin D concentrations and risk of severe COVID-19 infection and mortality. Recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to lessen COVID-19 risks may provide false reassurance.

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