In a recent University of Chicago retrospective study, a major breakthrough has been made in the fight against COVID-19.
The pandemic has ravaged global economies, with some writing off the entire decade in terms of any chance of returning to pre-pandemic employment and consumption habits.
So what is this new ground-breaking drug that may save the lives of billions and the economies of many? Well, it’s vitamin D.
Not what you were expecting right? While treatment for those infected with the virus currently runs in the tens of thousands of dollars and may not be very effective, the early results from two studies are simply stunning. The University of Chicago study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, while another study conducted in Cordoba, Spain, was published by the National Institutes of Health.
The study in JAMA looked at patients who were already being monitored for vitamin D deficiencies. Those that were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to get the coronavirus.
This may explain why minorities such as African Americans and Latinos, whose deficiency rates are found to be 70% and 80%, respectively, contract the virus at a disproportionately higher rate. This means that simply taking vitamin D supplements may be enough to prevent many from contracting the virus.
The Spanish study is even more significant, as it tracks two groups in a randomized, double-blind test.
Both groups have tested positive for COVID-19 and have already been admitted to the hospital to receive the “best” care available.
The control group was not given any extra vitamin D supplements, whereas the test group was given an analog of the vitamin, calcifediol, which is the hormone produced by taking vitamin D and is much faster acting.
Those that took the calcifediol, or vitamin D analog, were admitted to intensive care at a rate of 2% of all patients in the group – whereas those who didn't take the vitamin D analog were admitted to intensive care at a whopping rate of 50%. Meanwhile, 7% of patients not taking the added vitamin D died, whereas 0% of those who took it did.
While the number of patients in both studies was few (489 and 76, respectively), the results are nothing short of breathtaking.
Addressing vitamin D deficiencies not only may prevent many from contracting the virus but for those that already have it, may treat the symptoms faster and with fewer complications.
Obviously, vitamin D is not a vaccine, but if these numbers can be trusted, it is the strongest (and cheapest) weapon so far in the fight against COVID-19 so far.
Obviously, Big Pharma stands to lose billions if these studies are confirmed to be far more effective than much more expensive treatments.
This may be the treatment policymakers and economists have been looking for to prevent the spread of and treat the symptoms of the virus.