Coronavirus patients taking statins before hospitalization have significantly reduced their risk of hospital death and severe COVID-19, researchers have found, confirming earlier findings. Statins are frequently used to lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.
A team of scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine published results in PLOS ONE last week, analyzing anonymized records of more than 10,500 hospitalized COVID-19 patients admitted to 104 U.S. hospitals between January and September 2020 and listed in the American Heart Association’s COVID -19 Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Registry.
At the start of the pandemic, researchers hypothesized that statins could work against COVID-19 through their “known anti-inflammatory effects and binding abilities, which could potentially stop the progression of the virus.” Lori Daniels, MD, lead author of the study, professor and director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at UC San Diego Health, wrote in a press release. Statins upregulate the ACE-2 receptor to convert angiotension and control blood pressure, but ACE-2 is also a gateway for the virus causing COVID-19. Cholesterol and high blood pressure medications help stabilize underlying illnesses and likely increase patients’ chances of recovering from COVID-19 disease, study authors said.
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Patients were on average 66 years old and most patients (71%) had high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease or both. More than 80% of all patients taking statins were also taking at least one drug to treat high blood pressure, and patients taking either or both classes of drugs were generally older, female, and had a number of health problems.
The results indicated that patients taking a statin alone saw a 46% lower risk of death and an approximately 25% lower risk of developing severe COVID, compared to patients on any class of drugs. Patients taking both a statin and an antihypertensive lowered the risk of death by 40%.
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“As with any observational study, we cannot say for sure that the associations we describe between statin use and reduced severity of COVID-19 infection are certainly due to the statins themselves; however, we can now say with very strong evidence that they can play a role in substantially reducing a patient’s risk of death from COVID-19, ”Daniels said. “We hope that the results of our research will encourage patients to continue their treatment. “
Use of an antihypertensive drug the drug alone was linked to a ‘lower but still substantial probability of 27% [of death] », Discovered the team. Of a total of 10,540 hospitalized patients, 21% died, 39% had a serious outcome, almost a third were sent to intensive care and 19% required mechanical ventilation.
Daniels noted that most of the benefits were seen in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure, linked to a 32% lower risk of death.