Does the use of statins, a cholesterol-lowering medication, have therapeutic effects on patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line:

This study found that the use of statins was associated with reduced severity and lower risk of mortality in COVID-19 patients. However, due to the limitations of the study, these results must be interpreted with caution and further studies must be conducted to confirm the therapeutic potential of statins on COVID-19 outcomes.

Reference:

Zhang, X. et al. In-Hospital Use of Statins Is Associated with a Reduced Risk of Mortality among Individuals with COVID-19. Cell Metabolism (2020). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.015

Date Published:

24 June 2020

Synopsis:

Statins are a class of medication used to lower cholesterol levels and have additional anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. However, these drugs also increase the expression of a receptor, known as ACE2 (angiotensin converting enzyme 2), which is used by the COVID-19 virus for entry. This study looked into past cases of COVID-19 and compared those that received statins to those that did not receive statins during their hospital stay. The study compared the mortality rate and level of inflammatory markers (measurements used to understand the body’s inflammatory response) between the two groups. They found that in patients who received statins, there was a decrease in severity of disease and mortality rate in comparison to those who did not receive statins. However, since this is a retrospective study (which looks back in time and examines exposures to suspected risk/protection factors), further research is necessary to confirm the therapeutic potential of statins in COVID-19 patients.

Summary by: Eugenia Yeung