Health Care

COVID-19 reinfection rare, more common in people over 65

COVID-19 reinfection rare, more common in people over 65”

Patients with low vitamin D levels who are hospitalized for COVID-19 may have a lower risk of dying or requiring mechanical ventilation if they receive vitamin D supplementation of at least 1,000 units weekly, according to a study presented virtually at ENDO 2021, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

The trials will test the effectiveness of treatments - which have already shown promising early results for treating COVID-19, in preventing the virus and therefore its transmission among care home residents and those with weakened immune systems, such as transplant patients or those on dialysis.

Based on the analysis, the researchers suggested that people who have had the virus should still be vaccinated, as natural protection - particularly among the elderly - can not be relied upon.

For people over the age of 65, the numbers were slightly higher, with 17 out of 1931 testing positive twice.

"Only 80 percent protection from reinfection in general, decreasing to 47 percent in people aged 65 years and older, are more concerning figures than offered by previous studies". That was much lower than the 3.27% who were positive for the virus using highly accurate PCR tests after initially being negative.

Authors including Dr. Nathalie Auger of the University of Montreal's School of Public Health said the data "provides clear evidence that symptomatic or severe COVID-19 is associated with a considerable risk of preeclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight".

As Germany plans to lift the lockdown and revive its economy, an expert at the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday that the number of infections is rising exponentially, with the country entering a third wave of the pandemic.

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The BMJ study highlights statistics from the second wave in the UK - September to December 2020 - when there was an upturn in infections among the over-65s who live with children, compared to those who don't. "Little is known about protection against SARS-CoV-2 repeat infections, but two studies in the United Kingdom have found that immunity could last at least 5 to 6 months after infection", the authors note.

The reason for increased risk was unclear, but researchers said it could be because the virus that causes COVID-19 stimulates an inflammatory response affecting blood vessels.

"That's a very stark difference", said Dr. Amy Edwards, an infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland who was not involved in the study.

The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain now stands at 126,122.

The connection between vitamin D and COVID-19 is turning out to be a hot target for scientists.

"Many will find the data... relatively alarming", Professors Rosemary J Boyton and Daniel M Altmann from Imperial College London said in a comment, also in The Lancet.

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