Statins could reduce COVID-19 severity and hospital stays, study finds

Statins, a class of commonly-prescribed cholesterol-lowering drugs, could reduce patients' risk of developing severe COVID-19, according to research recently published in the American Journal of Cardiology.

University of California San Diego researchers published a clinical study Sept. 15 in which they examined the medical records of 170 COVID-19 patients and 5,281 control patients without the disease who were hospitalized at UC San Diego Health between February and June. They analyzed the anonymized data to better understand the relationship between the use of statins before hospitalization and duration of hospital stay, disease severity and outcome.

The research team found that taking statins before hospitalization decreased COVID-19 patients' risk of developing a severe case of the disease by more than 50 percent, as well as resulted in faster recovery times.

A second UC San Diego research team on Sept. 18 published a mechanistic study in The EMBO Journal explaining that statins' potential to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 stems from the drug class's ability to remove cholesterol from cell membranes, which prevents the novel coronavirus from getting in.

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