COVID-19 disease severity and death in relation to vitamin D status among SARS-CoV-2-positive UAE residents

Habiba Alsafar, William B. Grant, Rafiq Hijazi, Maimunah Uddin, Nawal Alkaabi, Guan Tay, Bassam Mahboub, Fatme Al Anouti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Insufficient blood levels of the neurohormone vitamin D are associated with increased risk of COVID-19 severity and mortality. Despite the global rollout of vaccinations and promising preliminary results, the focus remains on additional preventive measures to manage COVID-19. Results conflict on vitamin D’s plausible role in preventing and treating COVID-19. We examined the relation between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity and mortality among the multiethnic population of the United Arab Emirates. Our observational study used data for 522 participants who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at one of the main hospitals in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Only 464 of those patients were included for data analysis. Demographic and clinical data were retrospectively analyzed. Serum samples immediately drawn at the first hospital visit were used to measure serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations through automated electrochemiluminescence. Levels < 12 ng/mL were significantly associated with higher risk of severe COVID-19 infection and of death. Age was the only other independent risk factor, whereas comorbidities and smoking did not contribute to the outcomes upon adjustment. Sex of patients was not an important predictor for severity or death. Our study is the first conducted in the UAE to measure 25(OH)D levels in SARS-CoV-2-positive patients and confirm the association of levels < 12 ng/mL with COVID-19 severity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1714
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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