MP David Davis calls for Vitamin D therapy to be rolled out 'immediately' after study finds it can 'reduce Covid deaths by up to 60%' – despite scientists saying further research is needed
- Study evaluated effectiveness of calcifediol on patients at hospital in Barcelona
- Found those given doses of Vitamin D were 80 per cent less likely to require ICU
- David Davis hailed the findings as a 'very important study' in a series of tweets
Vitamin D reduces Covid-19 deaths by 60 per cent, a study has found, as MP David Davis today called for the therapy to be rolled out in hospitals immediately to 'save many thousands of lives.'
The study evaluated the effectiveness of calcifediol - a Vitamin D3 - on more than 550 people admitted to the Covid-19 wards of the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain.
Subjects were randomly assigned as either recipients of the calcifediol treatment or as controls on admission, before receiving five doses of the vitamin in increasing intervals of two, four, eight and 15 days.
The research, published by the Social Science Research Network, found Covid-19 patients given doses of Vitamin D were 80 per cent less likely to require ICU treatment.
Those from the University of Barcelona also concluded that 'adjusted results showed a reduced mortality of more than 60 per cent' for those who were given the calcifediol treatment.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis today hailed the findings as 'a very important study', adding: 'The findings of this large and well conducted study should result in this therapy being administered to every Covid patient in every hospital in the temperate latitudes.'
He said: 'Furthermore, since the study demonstrates that the clear relationship between vitamin D and Covid mortality is causal, the UK government should increase the dose and availability of free vitamin D to all the vulnerable groups.
'These approaches will save many thousands of lives. They are overdue and should be started immediately.'
The research, which is preliminary and not yet peer-reviewed, found 36 of the 551 patients treated with calcifediol died from Covid-19 compared to 57 patients out of 379 in the control group.
Elsewhere, researchers found only five per cent of the calcifediol group were admitted to the ICU.
The study said: 'In this open randomised study conducted during the first European outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, we have observed that, in hospitalised Covid-19 patients, treatment with calcifediol reduced the requirement for critical care by more than 80 per cent.
'This supports the conclusion of a prior pilot trial in Cordoba in which calcifediol treatment lead to a reduction of more than 50 per cent of ICU admission in hospitalised Covid-19 patients.'
Earlier in the pandemic, it was revealed the link between Vitamin D and coronavirus was being kept 'under review' by Matt Hancock as studies began to suggest that having low levels of the vitamin heightened the risk of mortality.
The Health Secretary had asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to continue to research emerging evidence after authorities began 'encouraging' people to take supplements, the Guardian reported.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: 'Evidence of the link of vitamin D to Covid-19 is still being researched and we keep all strong evidence on treatments under review.'
It comes as a separate study revealed Vitamin C and zinc won't help fight off Covid.
Findings from the trial, which looked at the benefits of the two supplements to people isolating at home with the virus, were so unimpressive that scientists decided to call it off altogether.
While both have proved popular in fighting off other viral colds and flu, they 'failed to live up to their hype', according to an editorial published in the JAMA Network Open journal.
Three groups of 214 adults recovering from Covid at home took part in the trial, which saw them given high doses of Vitamin C, high doses of zinc and both.
A fourth group, meanwhile, received fever-reducing medications and were told to rest and hydrate but didn't take any of the supplements.
But scientists found no evidence of a reduction of Covid symptoms in any of the first three groups.
Furthermore, high doses actually went on to cause unpleasant side effects for some including nausea, diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Previous research has found that, as an antioxidant, Vitamin C plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and can shorten colds by 14% in children and 8% in adults.
However, the National Institutes of Health found it didn't appear to be helpful if taken after cold symptoms start.
Zinc, meanwhile, could help cells fight infection, with a deficiency contributing to decreased production of antibodies.
A review of 13 studies said zinc can reduce the length of a cold by a day if taken within 24 hours of the very first signs, but warnings have been issued against its use in nasal sprays after being linked to more than 100 cases of loss of smell.