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Patients hospitalised with COVID-19 who take statins are less likely to die than those who do not, a retrospective study published in Cell Metabolism (24 June 2020) suggests
Researchers looked at data from 13,981 patients with COVID-19 — 1,219 of whom received statins while they were in hospital. Some 319 patients taking statins were also treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) for hypertension management.
They found that the 28-day all-cause mortality rate was 5.2% for those receiving statins, compared with 9.4% for matched patients who were not receiving statins. This equated to a 42% reduction in the risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio 0.58, 95% confidence interval, 0.43–0.80).
Measurement of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and neutrophil counts, indicated a lower inflammatory response among patients in the statin group.
No significant association was found between ACEi/ARB therapy and 28-day mortality in individuals with hypertension and statin treatment.
There has been speculation about whether statins could improve outcomes in COVID-19 as a result of their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, the authors said, adding that the findings provide supportive evidence for the safety of statins, or combination of a statin with an ACEi/ARB, for treatment in patients with COVID-19.
“Further randomised controlled trials to prospectively explore the efficacy of statins on COVID-19 outcomes are urgently needed,” they concluded.
 Zhang X-J, Qin J-J, Cheng X et al. Cell Metabolism 2020; In press. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.015