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Autumn COVID-19 surge dates in Europe correlated to latitudes, not to temperature-humidity, pointing to vitamin D as contributing factor

Walrand, S., Nature, doi:10.1038/s41598-021-81419-w
Jan 2021  
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Vitamin D for COVID-19
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Analysis of the increase in COVID-19 cases in European countries, showing no correlation with temperature, but a significant correlation with country latitude. Since UV radiation decreases earlier for higher latitudes, this supports the theory that low vitamin D levels increases COVID-19 risk.
Author recommends that vitamin D supplementation be considered to reduce pandemic severity during the winter, noting that UV levels in Europe and Northern USA will not return to a level above that of October until the end of March.
Study covers vitamin D and sunlight.
Walrand et al., 21 Jan 2021, peer-reviewed, 1 author.
This PaperVitamin DAll
Autumn COVID-19 surge dates in Europe correlated to latitudes, not to temperature-humidity, pointing to vitamin D as contributing factor
Stephan Walrand
Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/s41598-021-81419-w
To determine the factor triggering the sudden surge of daily new COVID-19 cases arising in most European countries during the autumn of 2020. The dates of the surge were determined using a fitting of the two last months of reported daily new cases in 18 European countries with latitude ranging from 39° to 62°. The study proves no correlation between the country surge date and the 2 weeks preceding temperature or humidity but shows an impressive linear correlation with latitude. The country surge date corresponds to the time when its sun UV daily dose drops below ≈ 34% of that of 0° latitude. Introducing reported seasonal blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration variation into the reported link between acute respiratory tract infection risk and 25(OH )D concentration quantitatively explains the surge dynamics. Several studies have already substantiated a 25(OH)D concentration impact on COVID-19 severity. However, by comparing different patient populations, discriminating whether a low 25(OH)D concentration is a real factor underlying COVID-19 severity or only a marker of another weakness that is the primary severity factor can be challenging. The date of the surge is an intrapopulation observation and has the benefit of being triggered only by a parameter globally affecting the population, i.e. decreases in the sun UV daily dose. The results indicate that a low 25(OH) D concentration is a contributing factor to COVID-19 severity, which, combined with previous studies, provides a convincing set of evidence. Most European countries underwent an unexpected surge of daily new COVID-19 cases in autumn (Fig. 1 ), imposing new confinement rules and emergency lockdowns. A commonly reported explanation is the decreasing temperature. The aim of this study is to challenge this assumption against a pure latitude impact.
Author contributions S.W. is the single contributor. Competing interests The author declares no competing interests. Additional information Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at https ://doi. org/10.1038/s4159 8-021-81419 -w. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.W. Reprints and permissions information is available at www.nature.com/reprints. Publisher's note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
References
Berry, Hesketh, Power, Hyppönen, Vitamin D status has a linear association with seasonal infections and lung function in British adults, Br. J. Nutr
Boucher, Vitamin D status as a predictor of Covid-19 risk in Black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups in the UK, Diabetes/ Metab. Res. Rev
Bulfone, Malekinejad, Rutherford, Razani, Outdoor transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses, a systematic review, J. Infect. Dis
Carter, Baranauskas, Fly, Considerations for obesity, vitamin D, and physical activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Obesity
Grigalavicius, Juzeniene, Baturaite, Dahlback, Moan, Biologically efficient solar radiation: Vitamin D production and induction of cutaneous malignant melanoma, Dermato-endocrinology
Herman, Biegel, Huang, Inactivation times from 290 to 315 nm UVB in sunlight for SARS coronaviruses CoV and CoV-2 using OMI satellite data for the sunlit Earth, Air Qual. Atmos. Health
Hyppönen, Power, Hypovitaminosis D in British adults at age 45 y: Nationwide cohort study of dietary and lifestyle predictors, Am. J. Clin. Nutr
Ianevski, Low temperature and low UV indexes correlated with peaks of influenza virus activity in Northern Europe during 2010-2018, Viruses
Ilie, Stefanescu, Smith, The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality, Aging Clin. Exp. Res
Juttmann, Visser, Buurman, De Kam, Birkenhäger, Seasonal fluctuations in serum concentrations of vitamin D metabolites in normal subjects, Br. Med. J
Klingberg, Oleröd, Konar, Petzold, Hammarsten, Seasonal variations in serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in a Swedish cohort, Endocrine
Krzywanski, Seasonal vitamin D status in Polish elite athletes in relation to sun exposure and oral supplementation, PLoS ONE
Lewiecki, Vitamin D and COVID-19: Is something better than nothing?, Osteoporosis Sarcopenia, doi:10.1016/j.afos.2020.08.005
Li, Wang, Nair, Global seasonality of human seasonal coronaviruses: A clue for postpandemic circulating season of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2?, J. Infect. Dis
Martineau, Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: Individual participant data meta-analysis, Health Technol. Assess
Mercola, Grant, Wagner, Evidence regarding vitamin D and risk of COVID-19 and its severity, Nutrients
Moosgaard, Vitamin D status, seasonal variations, parathyroid adenoma weight and bone mineral density in primary hyperparathyroidism, Clin. Endocrinol
Payne, Vitamin D insufficiency in diabetic retinopathy, Endocr. Pract
Pham, Rahman, Majidi, Waterhouse, Neale, Acute respiratory tract infection and 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health
Rhodes, Subramanian, Laird, Kenny, low population mortality from COVID-19 in countries south of latitude 35 degrees North supports vitamin D as a factor determining severity, Aliment. Pharmacol. Ther
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