Researchers at Leeds Beckett University (LBU) in collaboration with the Defence Medical Services are looking to examine whether vitamin D can offer protection from Covid-19 as part of a study amid mounting evidence the supplement could be beneficial.
The project is investigating the time period during which antibodies develop for SARS-CoV-2, the causative virus of Covid-19, in young people compared against military recruits taking the nutritional supplement.
A research team at LBU is looking for 450 males and females aged 18 to 33 from Leeds and the surrounding areas who are not already taking vitamin D.
The research aims to understand whether military recruits who are taking prevention measures, including vitamin D, show different rates of infection from the SARS-CoV-2 virus compared with an age matched population.
It could help demonstrate whether coronavirus infection can be suppressed below the expected level in young adults with simple and cost-effective strategies.
The 16-week study, being carried out by LBU and the Defence Medical Services, will involve blood tests to look at calcium and vitamin D levels, as well as finger-prick blood tests every four-five weeks to look at the development of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Covid-19 infection.
Participants will also need to fill out questionnaires regularly to record any symptoms they experience related to Covid-19.
John O’Hara, Professor in the Carnegie School of Sport at LBU, Colonel David Woods of the Defence Medical Services and Professor Julie Greeves of Army Health and Performance Research, are leading the study.
They said: “This should be a simple, yet highly informative study and if the results show a benefit from higher vitamin D levels due to supplementation it could make a big difference to people.”
The research is happening during the first and second terms of the academic year and will require two visits to the Carnegie School of Sport at the Headingley Campus, each visit lasting less than 30 minutes.
Volunteers will receive a £25 Amazon voucher on completion of the study which is investigating ways of reducing the impact of coronavirus.