WUHAN: Statin, the drug used to lower cholesterol levels may help reduce the death rate in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, says a new study by researchers in the Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism and stated that the drug can improve immune cell responses, reduce inflammation and slow the progression of lung injury in animals.
With no cure or vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection currently available anywhere around the world, researchers at the Renmin Hospital conducted the study on 13,981 COVID-19 patients in 21 hospitals in Hubei Province, Xinhua reported. As many as 1,219 patients received statins during the trial. The research found that the mortality rate in the group that received statin was 4.2 per cent while that of the group that did not receive statin was 9.4 per cent. The value was estimated 28 days after the drug was administered to the patients.
According to Li Hongliang, lead researcher of the team, the results proved the safety and efficacy of statin drugs in treating hospitalised COVID-19 patients. He went on to state that the state is a promising solution to COVID-19, so far as a specialised vaccine for the disease is not developed successfully. Moreover, the researchers also found that the use of statin drugs was linked with a decreased incidence of invasive mechanical ventilation, admission to intensive care units, and acute respiratory distress syndrome in COVID-19 patients.
For the trial, 319 patients in the study were given statins combined with angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), whereas 603 patients took statins combined with other blood pressure medicines. According to the study, adding an ACE inhibitor or an ARB did not increase the risk of death in these patients.
The large-scale study further stated that statins may help prevent COVID-19 patients from progressing to severe illness as those who took statins had much lower levels of inflammation biomarkers than those who did not use the cholesterol-lowering drugs.