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Coronavirus: Sunbathing could reduce the risk of dying from Covid-19, according to new research

Taking Sunbath may prevent the risk factors for Severe COVID-19.

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

While there are so many studies under way researching COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-19, the novel coronavirus that causes the illness, it is still a brand new subject to science.

Many studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to greater susceptibility to respiratory infections such as Covid-19. However, clinical trials on vitamin D have had conflicting results.

A working paper, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that absorbing more immune-system-boosting vitamin D, may help prevent influenza.

Now, a new study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, has found a strong link between Covid-19 mortality rate and sunbathing.

The study highlights that sunbathing causes the skin to release a chemical in the skin that alleviates symptoms.

The phenomenon dampens inflammation – stretching far beyond vitamin D, the sunshine nutrient.

Corresponding author Dr. Richard Weller, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “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.”

They are based on people living in England, Italy and the US. In sunny areas, coronavirus mortality rates fell.

It could act as a simple public health intervention, say the Scottish team. Light therapies that mimic the benefits of the sun may also be protective.

The study found regions in the US with the highest level of UVA rays – which makes up 95 per cent of the sun’s ultraviolet light – had fewer Covid deaths.

It looked at data from January to April 2020 across 2,474 counties. The analysis was repeated in England and Italy with the same results.

Co-author Professor Chris Dibben, chair in health geography at Edinburgh, said: “The relationship between Covid-19 mortality, season and latitude has been quite striking.

“Here we offer an alternative explanation for this phenomenon.”

The researchers took into account factors known to be associated with increased exposure to the virus and risk of death.

These included age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, population density, air pollution, temperature and levels of infection in local areas.

Reduction in deaths could not be explained by higher levels of vitamin D. Only areas with insufficient levels of UVB to produce it in the body were included.

There are two types of ultraviolet rays that reach the Earth’s surface – known as UVA and UVB.

Both can cause skin cancer. But UVB is the main source for the nutrient which boost bones, muscles and teeth.

Prof Dibben and colleagues say sunlight exposure also causes the skin to release nitric oxide. This could be the explanation.

It may reduce the virus’ ability to replicate – as has been demonstrated in lab experiments.

Previous research from the same group has shown sunlight improves cardiovascular health.

It reduces blood pressure – protecting against heart attacks. Cardiovascular disease is a known complication from Covid-19.

They have also found it relieves eczema by releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream.

The chemical activates specialised immune cells called regulatory T cells which douse inflammation.

The results of the study may lead to potential Covid treatments, added the researchers.

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