Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has infected more than 4.4 million people and caused more than 300,000 deaths partly through acute respiratory distress syndrome with propensity to affect African American and Hispanic communities disproportionately. Patients with worse outcomes have exhibited higher blood plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Activation of the vitamin D receptor expressed on immune cells has been shown to directly reduce the secretion of inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6, and indirectly affect C-reactive protein.
Areas of uncertainty: The significance of the vitamin D pathway in patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Therapeutic innovation: Vitamin D supplementation in patients after diagnosis of COVID-19.
Patients and pharmacological interventions: We report 4 vitamin D deficient patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in April 2020 who were provided with either cholecalciferol of 1000 IU daily (standard dose) or ergocalciferol 50,000 IU daily for 5 days (high dose) as part of supplementation.
Clinical outcomes: Patients that received a high dose of vitamin D supplementation achieved normalization of vitamin D levels and improved clinical recovery evidenced by shorter lengths of stay, lower oxygen requirements, and a reduction in inflammatory marker status.
Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation may serve as a viable alternative for curtailing acute respiratory distress syndrome in patients in underserved communities where resources to expensive and sought-after medications may be scarce. Randomized clinical trials will serve as an appropriate vessel to validate the efficacy of the therapeutic regimen and dissection of the pathway.