Picture: Alsonso Reyes/Unsplash
Picture: Alsonso Reyes/Unsplash

UV sunrays – not vitamin D – reduce Covid-19 deaths, researchers find

By Keagan Le Grange Time of article published Apr 19, 2021

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RESEARCHERS from the University of Edinburgh, UK studied the link between sunlight and lower Covid-19 deaths, discovering increased exposure to ultraviolet A radiation (UVA) reduced mortalities.

The study, which has been published in the British Journal of Dermatology, focused on three countries – the US, Italy and England, analysing mortality stats and UVA levels during winter months.

UVA rays makes up 95% of the sun’s UV light but the researchers ruled out the involvement of vitamin D in lower Covid-19 mortality rates as only areas with insufficient UVB levels which helps produce Vitamin D in the body were studied.

In previous research, the group had discovered a link between sunlight exposure and improved cardiovascular health but with most recent findings, suggests that exposure to the sun causes a release in nitric oxide which reduces the ability of Sars-CoV-2 to replicate inside the body.

Although researchers considered many factors linked to the risk of death and exposure to Covid-19 such as age, ethnicity, population density, temperature, air pollution and more, the study was based on observations. Their findings could lead to further interventions and a possibility to be tested as a treatment against Covid-19.

Dr Richard Weller, a corresponding author, consultant dermatologist and Reader at the University of Edinburgh, told SciTech Daily: “There is still so much we don’t understand about Covid-19, which has resulted in so many deaths worldwide. These early results open up sunlight exposure as one way of potentially reducing the risk of death.”

Professor Chris Dibben, the chairperson in health geography at the University of Edinburgh and co-author said: “The relationship between Covid-19 mortality, season and latitude has been quite striking, here we offer an alternative explanation for this phenomenon.”

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