Vitamin D concentrations and COVID-19 infection in UK Biobank

Diabetes Metab Syndr. Jul-Aug 2020;14(4):561-565. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2020.04.050. Epub 2020 May 7.

Abstract

Background and aims: COVID-19 and low levels of vitamin D appear to disproportionately affect black and minority ethnic individuals. We aimed to establish whether blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration was associated with COVID-19 risk, and whether it explained the higher incidence of COVID-19 in black and South Asian people.

Methods: UK Biobank recruited 502,624 participants aged 37-73 years between 2006 and 2010. Baseline exposure data, including 25(OH)D concentration and ethnicity, were linked to COVID-19 test results. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed for the association between 25(OH)D and confirmed COVID-19, and the association between ethnicity and both 25(OH)D and COVID-19.

Results: Complete data were available for 348,598 UK Biobank participants. Of these, 449 had confirmed COVID-19 infection. Vitamin D was associated with COVID-19 infection univariably (OR = 0.99; 95% CI 0.99-0.999; p = 0.013), but not after adjustment for confounders (OR = 1.00; 95% CI = 0.998-1.01; p = 0.208). Ethnicity was associated with COVID-19 infection univariably (blacks versus whites OR = 5.32, 95% CI = 3.68-7.70, p-value<0.001; South Asians versus whites OR = 2.65, 95% CI = 1.65-4.25, p-value<0.001). Adjustment for 25(OH)D concentration made little difference to the magnitude of the association.

Conclusions: Our findings do not support a potential link between vitamin D concentrations and risk of COVID-19 infection, nor that vitamin D concentration may explain ethnic differences in COVID-19 infection.

Keywords: COVID-19; Ethnicity; Vitamin D.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Betacoronavirus / pathogenicity
  • COVID-19
  • Causality
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / ethnology*
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / ethnology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / ethnology*

Substances

  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D