Background: Some studies suggested that adequate levels of vitamin D (VD) decrease the risk of severe COVID-19. Information about the effectiveness of VD supplementation in children is scarce.
Objective: To assess the efficacy and safety of VD supplementation compared to the standard of care in hospitalized children with COVID-19.
Patients and methods: An open-label randomized controlled single-blind clinical trial was carried out. We included patients from 1 month to 17 years, with moderate COVID-19, who required hospitalization and supplemental oxygen. They were randomized into two groups: the VD group, which received doses of 1,000 (children < 1 year) or 2,000 IU/day (from 1 to 17 years) and the group without VD (control). The outcome variables were the progression of oxygen requirement, the development of complications, and death.
Statistical analysis: For comparison between groups, we used the chi-squared test or Fisher's exact test and the Mann-Whitney U test. Absolute risk reduction (ARR) and the number needed to treat (NNT) were calculated. p ≤ 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: From 24 March 2020 to 31 March 2021, 87 patients were eligible to participate in the trial; 45 patients were randomized: 20 to the VD group and 25 to the control group. There was no difference in general characteristics at baseline, including serum VD levels (median 13.8 ng/ml in the VD group and 11.4 ng/ml in the control group).
Outcomes: 2/20 (10%) in the VD group vs. 9/25 (36%) in the control group progressed to a superior ventilation modality (p = 0.10); one patient in the VD group died (5%) compared to 6 (24%) patients in the control group (p = 0.23). ARR was 26% (95% CI 8.8 to 60.2%) and NNT was 3 (2 to 11) for progression and ARR was 19% (95% CI -3.9 to 42.8%) and NNT was 6 (2 to 26) for death. None of the patients receiving VD had adverse effects. The trial was stopped for ethical reasons; since after receiving the results of the basal VD values, none of the patients had normal levels.
Conclusion: In this trial, VD supplementation in pediatric patients seems to decrease the risk of COVID-19 progression and death. More studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Clinical trial registration: This protocol was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov with the registration number NCT04502667.
Keywords: COVID-19; Latin America; Pediatrics; SARS-CoV-2; children; mortality; vitamin D.
Copyright © 2022 Zurita-Cruz, Fonseca-Tenorio, Villasís-Keever, López-Alarcón, Parra-Ortega, López-Martínez and Miranda-Novales.