Healthcare workers who self-isolated after developing symptoms of COVID-19 were more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency, with workers from Black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds particularly affected, a new study by experts at the University of Birmingham has found.
The study, an extension of previous work to establish convalescent immunity in NHS staff at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, analyzed blood samples from 392 healthcare workers recruited in May 2020 towards the end of the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Samples were first tested for the presence of SARS-Cov-2 antibodies using a unique in-house assay developed by the University’s Clinical Immunology Service in partnership with The Binding Site before undergoing testing to establish the concentration of vitamin D
Of the 392 workers, over half (55%) had SARS-Cov-2 antibodies, showing that they had been infected with the virus. A total of 61 (or 15.6%) were deficient in vitamin-D with significantly more of these staff coming from from BAME backgrounds or in junior doctor roles. Vitamin D levels were lower in younger and male staff, and those who had a high BMI.
Eli Lilly Requests Emergency Approval for its Covid-19 Antibody Treatment
Drugmaker Eli Lilly said Wednesday that it has requested an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its Covid-19 monoclonal antibody treatment. Lilly’s medication is similar to the Regeneron antibody treatment President Donald Trump received after his Covid-19 diagnosis. Regeneron has not yet applied for such an authorization. Lilly’s request comes nearly a month after the company announced partial results from a trial of the drug, which suggested it could help keep patients with mild to moderate forms of the illness from progressing to a point where they would need to be hospitalized. Those trial results have not yet been published or peer-reviewed, however.
The company’s chief scientific officer, Dr. Daniel Skovronsky, said the company’s data “provide sufficient evidence” that the therapy “may be effective to treat COVID-19 in patients with a high risk for serious outcomes.” Lilly’s drug is currently being studied in National Institutes of Health-sponsored clinical trials both as a treatment and for prevention in people who have been exposed.