A study, published in The British Journal of Dermatology has found out that persons who live in very sunny areas are less likely to die from the coronavirus.
According to the research, more exposure to sunlight lowers the risk of people dying from coronavirus, as there is a proven link between sunlight exposure in certain areas and a lower number of COVID deaths.
Comparison between COVID-19 deaths and ultraviolet levels for the same period showed that sunnier areas were associated with fewer deaths.
The study found that the Mortality Risk Ratio – the probability of death for a particular population and the risk of death for all other populations – in the US fell 29% for every 100 kilojoules per square meter increase in mean daily ultraviolet light. In Italy and England, there was a general decline of 32%.
Researchers are investigating the cause of this correlation. One possible explanation is that the skin tissue releases nitric oxide when exposed to the sun. Studies show that the release of nitric oxide into the skin may reduce SARS Coronavirus2 to replicate, the article stated.
Another possible explanation is that other studies have shown that increased sunlight is associated with a lower heart rate and lower blood pressure, two factors that can reduce the risk of death from COVID-19.
According to the research, this reduced risk cannot be explained by the levels of vitamin D in the local population. This is because the research is based on areas where UVB (ultraviolet type B) levels are too low to produce significant levels of vitamin D in the body.
The study took into account other identified risk factors associated with exposure and increased risk of death from COVID, including age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, levels of infection in the environment, air pollution, and temperature.
Because the study was observational, it could not establish cause and effect. But researchers say if further studies determine that there is a causal effect, sunlight could act as a simple public health intervention.
“These early results open up sunlight exposure as one way of potentially reducing the risk of death,” said Dr Richard Weller, a corresponding author, consultant dermatologist and reader at the University of Edinburgh.
The new study may be particularly relevant to Israel and other African nations, which are sunny.
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