A McMaster researcher is part of a team that has discovered a more efficient method of screening for vitamin D insufficiency, which could be used to combat COVID-19 and other respiratory disorders.
According to research, vitamin D is an important pro-hormone that has a significant impact on immunological function and metabolic health. A McMaster professor of chemistry and chemical biology explains that “Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in Canada during the winter months due to a lack of sunlight exposure, which also coincides with respiratory sickness season.” “In addition to its function in bone health, vitamin D also plays an important role in boosting immunelogical responses to invading pathogens while controlling inflammation.”
“Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent in Canada over the winter months due to the lack of sunlight exposure, which also coincides with respiratory illness season, Beyond its importance in bone health, vitamin D also plays a key role in stimulating immune responses to foreign pathogens while modulating inflammation.”Philip Britz-McKibbin, a McMaster professor of chemistry and chemical biology.
According to him, there was a need for a low-cost, quick test that measures vitamin D levels from a blood sample.
Britz-McKibbin and colleagues devised a quick approach for detecting vitamin D insufficiency in critically ill children who would benefit from vitamin D treatment. A study published in the Journal of Lipid Research describes the procedure in detail.
He explains, “The immunoassay technology we were utilizing had specific precision and accuracy limits.”
Unlike past procedures, we’ve devised a speedier and more reliable method that is suitable for high-throughput screening.
This research is part of an ongoing multicenter clinical trial conducted by pediatric critical care physician Dayre McNally of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario that is looking into the safety and efficacy of high-dose vitamin D intervention to improve health outcomes after a critical illness.
“This new screening tool is particularly beneficial for clinical studies testing therapeutic therapies in vitamin D deficient patients,” McNally says. “Routine vitamin D testing might take several days and is not always available in Canadian hospitals. If our trial demonstrates that high-dose vitamin D is useful for critically ill children, this screening tool could be used to better guide vitamin D deficiency treatment as standard care in Canadian pediatric intensive care units. “
A quick test for vitamin D insufficiency is “important,” especially for critically ill children, when delays in therapy may impair patient outcomes, according to Karen Choong, a pediatric critical care physician at McMaster Children’s Hospital and co-author of the paper. “This test is a significant step toward guaranteeing that mass testing is feasible and timely among our hospitals’ sickest children.”
Researchers believe that in the future, home testing could be accomplished utilizing a finger prick of blood. Because treatment responses vary greatly between individuals, it encourages tailored health measures to achieve appropriate vitamin D status.
According to Britz-McKibbin, the development exemplifies how fundamental science may be applied to clinical care. “This is where we get our motivation to create new analytical methods that can help clinicians and, eventually, improve patient outcomes.”