Queen Mary University of London has launched a study to see if vitamin D can offer any protection against Covid-19.

The ‘Coronavit’ trial funded by Barts Charity will test whether higher doses of vitamin D might offer protection against winter respiratory infections including Covid-19.

The research project will run for six months and involve more than 5,000 people, each of whom will take part in the study from their homes as all vitamin D tests and supplements will be sent via the post.

UK residents aged 16 and over can participate in the trial as long as they are not already taking high-dose vitamin D.

Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau from Queen Mary University of London said: “There is mounting evidence that vitamin D might reduce the risk of respiratory infections, with some recent studies suggesting that people with lower vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to coronavirus.”

The intervention to be evaluated involves a postal finger prick vitamin D test, which will be processed in an NHS lab. Participants who are found to have low levels of vitamin D in their blood will then be given a six months’ supply of either 800 or 3,200 IU of vitamin D a day.

The research team will then track the incidence of doctor-diagnosed or laboratory-confirmed acute respiratory infection in the participants, including Covid-19, to see whether vitamin D supplementation has had an effect on their risk and severity of infection.

Principal investigator of the study, Dr David Jolliffe from Queen Mary University of London, added: “Coronavit trial has the potential to give a definitive answer to the question of whether vitamin D offers protection against Covid-19. Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus.”

Meanwhile, a new review by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in July had concluded that there was no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat Covid-19.

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