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All Studies   Meta Analysis
1 June 2021 - Analysis of outcomes based on serum levels
Vitamin D and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity in the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative: A Mendelian randomization study
Butler-Laporte et al., PLOS Medicine, doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1003605 (Peer Reviewed)
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Mendelian randomization study not finding significant differences in COVID-19 outcomes based on vitamin D level. This study does not compare patients with deficiency/insuffiency/sufficiency, only providing ORs for increase in D levels. Authors note that their results do not apply to individuals with vitamin D deficiency.
For some background on Mendelian randomization studies and their limitations see [1].
For reasons why Mendelian randomization may fail in this case, see [2]. Authors suggest that it may come down to the use of 25-OHD concentration in serum as a less than ideal proxy for vitamin D status of cells involved in the immune response. For most other purposes, it may not matter much that unbound (free) 25-OHD is the better predictor of vitamin D deficiency and the resulting unfavourable outcomes. But for the MR analysis, the genetic instrument is strongly dominated by variation in the GC gene which modulates the concentration of vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) in blood and thereby indirectly the concentrations of 25-OHD and 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D. Thus, the common GC alleles rs4588A and rs7041T are both associated with much lower than average vitamin D concentrations. In contrast, directly measured unbound (free) vitamin D concentrations are minimally affected by these alleles, if at all.
Authors cite only 2 of the 25 vitamin D treatment studies (2 of 5 RCTs), including the only study reporting a negative effect. Authors indicate that they believe Murai et al. was a significant result, however that study used cholecalciferol with very late stage patients. In practice, calcifediol/calcitrol would be used due to the long delay in conversion of cholecalciferol, hence the study is not informative of either normal late stage treatment, or earlier treatment. That authors believe the study is important suggests a strong bias.
Butler-Laporte et al., 6/1/2021, peer-reviewed.
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