Choices that fail health and wellbeingBMJ 2022; 377 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1115 (Published 05 May 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1115
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Dear Editor - NICE's expert group RAPID C-19, set up to ‘to ensure safe and timely patient access to treatments that show evidence of benefit in preventing and treating COVID-19’ have confirmed that “neither NICE nor its expert group RAPID C-19 carried out a review of any of the 18 papers” specifically on vitamin C for the treatment of COVID-19, which they had previously listed as ‘clinically relevant’. My colleagues, Dr Marcela Vizcaychipi from the Faculty of Medicine , Imperial College and Intensive Care Medicine at Chelsea & Westminster and Assoc, Professor Anitra Carr from the University of Otago's Nutrition in Medicine Research Group and I reviewed the first twelve trials [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34833042/] finding 'The current level of evidence from the RCTs suggests that intravenous vitamin C intervention may improve oxygenation parameters, reduce inflammatory markers, decrease days in hospital and reduce mortality, particularly in the more severely ill patients. High doses of oral vitamin C supplementation may also improve the rate of recovery in less severe cases. No adverse events have been reported.'
To make matters worse NICE/RAPID C-19 confirmed to us that they had circulated now 22 relevant clinical trial papers to the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) relevant scientific advisory committee on nutrition (SACN) but instructed them not to review the evidence so as to avoid duplication of effort as this was within RAPID C-19’s remit. A head to head trial of vitamin C compared with an anti-viral drug, the former being inexpensive, safe and well researched, the latter being the opposite, would be revealing.
Competing interests: No competing interests