Good Impact of Statins on Coronavirus Severity

With no FDA approved and licensed vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the current standard of providing care to COVID-19 patients is fluids and fever-reducing medications. To speed the research for new COVID-19 therapies, tests are conducted on repurposing drugs for their abilities to mitigate the virus.

Researchers recently reported that statins, the widely used cholesterol-lowering medications, are associated with reduced risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease and faster recovery times. A second research team has uncovered evidence that helps explain why statins are useful. It removes cholesterol from cell membranes and prevents the coronavirus from getting in.

To understand the impact, the researchers analyzed the electronic medical records of 170 patients with COVID-19 and 5,281 COVID-negative control patients who were hospitalized. Anonymized data were collected that included the patients’ disease severity, length of hospital stay, outcome, and use of statins, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) within 30 days before hospital admission.

Among the positive patients, 27 % were actively taking statins on admission, while 21 % were on an ACE inhibitor and 12 % on an ARB. The average hospital stay was 9.7 days for patients with COVID-19. It was found that statin use before hospital admission for COVID-19 was associated with a more than 50 percent reduction in risk of developing severe COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 but not taking statins.

Statins specifically may inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection through its known anti-inflammatory effects and binding capabilities as that could potentially stop the progression of the virus, they said. The scientists now wanted to understand more about the gene that could have an impact because of COVID-19. 

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