Patients taking cholesterol-reducing drug at lower risk of death due to Covid-19: Study
A study conducted by a team of researchers from University of California's San Diego School of Medicine has stated that patients taking statin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, are at 41% lower risk of an in-hospital death due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Speaking on the study, lead author Lori Daniels said, "When faced with this virus at the beginning of the pandemic, there was a lot of speculation surrounding certain medications that affect the body's ACE2 receptor, including statin, and whether they may influence Covid-19 risk. At the time we thought that statins may inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 infection through their known anti-inflammatory effects and binding capabilities, which may potentially stop the progression of the virus."
The ACE2 receptor, or the Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2, is the regulatory target of statins, and helps control blood pressure. Last year, it was discovered that the SARS-CoV-2 virus primarily uses the ACE2 receptor to enter lung cells.
For their study, which was published in the journal PLOS One, the research team used data from the American Heart Association's Covid-19 Cardiovascular Registry. Then, they applied their original findings to 10,541 patients across the United States, who were hospitalised with the coronavirus disease. The study was conducted across 104 hospitals from January to September 2020.
Elaborating on the research, Daniels said, "We performed more advanced analyses as we attempted to control for comorbidities, socioeconomic status and hospital factors. The study confirmed our prior findings that statins reduce risk of death among patients hospitalised for Covid-19." She also said that most of the benefits appeared to be among patients with good medical reasons for taking the drug.
Daniels further cautioned that just like any other observational study, it cannot be said with certainty that the reduced death risk due to Covid-19, found associated with statins, is due to statins themselves. However, she hoped that the findings act as an incentive for patients to continue using the drug.
Statins reduce blood cholesterol levels by blocking liver enzymes which make cholesterol. They are such widely prescribed that according to the US Centers for Disease Control, 93% of patients using a cholesterol-reducing drug use a statin.
(With ANI inputs)