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Vitamin D and socioeconomic deprivation mediate COVID-19 ethnic health disparities

Marino-Ramirez et al., medRxiv, doi:10.1101/2021.09.20.21263865
Sep 2021  
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UK Biobank retrospective showing that vitamin supplements, including vitamin D, mediate the Asian disparity in COVID-19 susceptibility, and vitamin D levels mediate Asian and Black COVID-19 severity disparities. Authors conclude that the results support the use of vitamin D as both a prophylactic and a supplemental therapeutic for COVID-19 in those individuals.
Marino-Ramirez et al., 22 Sep 2021, preprint, 7 authors.
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Vitamin D and socioeconomic deprivation mediate COVID-19 ethnic health disparities
Leonardo Mariño-Ramírez, Maria Ahmad, Lavanya Rishishwar, Shashwat Deepali Nagar, Kara K Lee, Emily T Norris, I King Jordan
Ethnic minorities in developed countries suffer a disproportionately high burden of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, and COVID-19 ethnic disparities have been attributed to social determinants of health. Vitamin D has been proposed as a modifiable risk factor that could mitigate COVID-19 health disparities. We investigated the relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity using the UK Biobank, a large progressive cohort study of the United Kingdom population. Structural equation modelling was used to evaluate the ability of vitamin D, socioeconomic deprivation, and other known risk factors to mediate COVID-19 ethnic health disparities. Asian ethnicity is associated with higher COVID-19 susceptibility, compared to the majority White population, and Asian and Black ethnicity are both associated with higher COVID-19 severity. Socioeconomic deprivation mediates all three ethnic disparities and shows the highest overall signal of mediation for any COVID-19 risk factor. Vitamin supplements, including vitamin D, mediate the Asian disparity in COVID-19 susceptibility, and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (calcifediol) levels mediate Asian and Black COVID-19 severity disparities. Several measures of overall health also mediate COVID-19 ethnic disparities, underscoring the importance of comorbidities. Our results support ethnic minorities' use of vitamin D as both a prophylactic and a supplemental therapeutic for COVID-19.
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