SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The onset of the coronavirus pandemic led to several medical studies from treatments to vaccines and more.
While doctors worked around the clock to figure out what works, some discovered there are some things we already have in existence that help.
Dr. Maulik Patel works with geriatric patients at Memorial’s adult primary care practice. He knew the novel coronavirus posed a huge risk to his patients and began researching what could help.
“Looking into it what I realized was Vitamin D plays a big role in sort of modulation for a lot of different proteins that impact the virus' ability to get into the cell, to be able to replicate, to be able to amount that response it has a huge role in that,” Dr. Patel said.
After much study, he felt the data was positive. He and other Memorial doctors began a collaborative effort to run a test on COVID patient’s Vitamin D levels. He says from January to May, Memorial doctors ordered three times as many Vitamin D tests for patients.
“What we saw was individuals that come in with sort of undetectable levels of Vitamin D usually ended up having the worst symptoms or the worst clinical course in the hospital,” Dr. Patel said.
Depending on their test, Dr. Patel would supplement Vitamin D to patients in addition to using other treatment options if needed. He says the pro’s outweighed the cons.
While taking too much Vitamin D can be toxic, it provides a lot of support for other illnesses and is relatively low in cost.
While their findings did show Vitamin D impacted severity, it did not seem to shorten hospital stay. Though some medical professionals question if Vitamin D helps as there are many sources and feel it correlates with healthy lifestyle. Dr. Patel feels it’s at least a conversation.
“This is all about taking the discussion of COVID-19 with their primary care doctor, with their friends and family and their loved ones and sharing that data. Talking about what has your doctor spoken of what have you seen that works because you know I think that’s where it starts,” Dr. Patel said.
Dr. Patel says he is still analyzing data from his study and has plans to publish a paper. While he didn’t treat ICU COVID patients, those he saw all recovered from the virus.