A new study suggests that taking statins may help reduce the risk of dying from severe Covid-19. In the study, people who regularly took statins before they developed Covid-19 were roughly 50% less likely to die in the hospital than people who did not.
Statin usage also seemed to reduce patient levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation.
If further studies support these findings, this could provide a cost-effective, widely-available, low-risk treatment option for Covid-19.
Some 40 million people living in the United States take statins to help reduce their cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.
But statins can also have a strong anti-inflammatory, anti-blood clotting, and antiviral effect, all of which may help limit complications associated with severe Covid-19.
That is why researchers are trying to figure out if statin use impacts Covid-19 outcomes.
In a new study, a group of researchers, including cardiologists caring for hospitalized Covid-19 patients in New York, set out to compare patient outcomes between people who had used statins before hospitalization and those who had not.
Stay informed with live updates on the current Covid-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
“Our study is one of the larger studies confirming this hypothesis, and the data lay the groundwork for future randomized clinical trials that are needed to confirm the benefit of statins in Covid-19,” says co-lead author of the study, Dr. Aakriti Gupta, MD, a cardiologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center.
If a successful clinical trial validates the researchers’ findings, statins could represent a low-cost, easy to access, relatively safe treatment option for Covid-19.
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved only one drug to treat Covid-19 — remdesivir (Veklury).
However, some other medications may be beneficial during certain stages of the disease.
Statins are the most common type of drug that people use to lower cholesterol levels.
According to the American Heart Association, they work predominately by blocking a specific cholesterol-producing enzyme, causing less production and release of cholesterol.