A study led by a team of researchers from Northwestern University in the US has looked at data from coronavirus cases across 10 countries, including China, Iran, Germany and Italy.
They compared this with data on the levels of vitamin D in the population in those countries before the pandemic. Not only did they find a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and higher mortality rates, they also identified a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a complication known as a cytokine storm, which occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive.
The study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found patients with a severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience potentially lethal complications. Vadim Backman, a professor of Biomedical Engineering, said that while having high levels of vitamin D will not stop someone catching the virus, it may be able to reduce complications and prevent death.
The scientists involved in the study have now called for more research to be undertaken to foster a better understanding what causes this connection between vitamin D and coronavirus mortality.