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Andalusian scientific research on vitamin D and COVID-19, among the 100 most downloaded in 2021

April 23, 2022
Andalusian scientific research on vitamin D and COVID-19, among the 100 most downloaded in 2021

A scientific publication by Andalusian researchers, specifically from the Clinical Bioinformatics Area of the Progreso y Salud Foundation, is among the 100 most downloaded publications of 2021 out of a total of more than 24,500 scientific articles, according to the journal Scientific Reports, from the Nature publishing group.

The work, carried out by the research group led by Joaquín Dopazo, has focused on retrospectively analysing the clinical history of almost 16,000 patients, showing that those who took a drug to restore vitamin D during the 15 days before hospital admission experienced a higher survival rate compared to COVID-19.

In this research work, the scientists studied the effect of vitamin D on patient survival. “The data obtained, the survival curves, and the risk ratios demonstrate – taking into account other variables that influence survival such as age, sex, and other comorbidities – the idea that vitamin D favours a higher survival rate”, with particular relevance in the case of calcifediol, although it has also been demonstrated in the case of cholecalciferol. The scientists also found that the association was stronger when the drug was taken closer to the date of hospitalisation.

This study has been possible thanks to the clinical information available to the Andalusian Public Health System, which “is of enormous value because it allows us to study diseases and determine therapeutic alternatives,” says Dopazo. Thanks to the clinical history of each patient, it is possible to establish relationships and patterns between drugs and pathologies and to study their evolution. Particularly important for this type of study is the Population Health Database, a unique resource of the Andalusian Public Health System which contains the structured clinical data of more than 13 million patients, giving Andalusia the potential to be a leader in studies with real-world data, as this type of retrospective study is called.

This research group is currently working on a project in collaboration with the Institute for Advanced Research in Artificial Intelligence in Austria to develop simulated medical records to study certain prevalent diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, and, due to its particular circumstances and characteristics, COVID-19. According to the group, this research will comply with patient data protection requirements.

The Clinical Bioinformatics Area is a key element for personalised medicine in Andalusian public health. Its activity is oriented towards the development of tools that favour its application and that, in general, allow more personalised treatment with a greater number of therapeutic options to be offered to patients.