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.
Copyright © 2020 Diabetes India. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.