The worldwide pandemic of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has posed the most substantial and severe public health issue for several generations, and therapeutic options have not yet been optimised. Vitamin D (in its "parent" form, cholecalciferol) has been proposed in the pharmacological management of COVID-19 by various sources. We aimed to determine whether COVID-19 mortality was affected by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels, vitamin D status, or cholecalciferol therapy, and to elucidate any other predictors of COVID-19 mortality. Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 were opportunistically recruited from three UK hospitals, and their data were collected retrospectively. Logistic regression was used to determine any relationships between COVID-19 mortality and potential predictors, including 25(OH)D levels and cholecalciferol booster therapy. A total of 986 participants with COVID-19 were studied, of whom 151 (16.0%) received cholecalciferol booster therapy. In the primary cohort of 444 patients, cholecalciferol booster therapy was associated with a reduced risk of COVID-19 mortality, following adjustment for potential confounders (ORadj 0.13, 95% CI 0.05-0.35, p < 0.001). This finding was replicated in a validation cohort of 541 patients (ORadj 0.38, 95% CI 0.17-0.84, p = 0.018). In this observational study, treatment with cholecalciferol booster therapy, regardless of baseline serum 25(OH)D levels, appears to be associated with a reduced risk of mortality in acute in-patients admitted with COVID-19. Further work with large population studies needs to be carried out to determine adequate serum 25(OH)D levels, as well as multi-dose clinical trials of cholecalciferol therapy to assess maximum efficacy.
Keywords: 25-hydroxyvitamin D; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; cholecalciferol; mortality; novel coronavirus 2019; vitamin D; vitamin D treatment.