Statins May Reduce Risk of Severe COVID-19 by 50%: Study

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Recent studies, conducted by scientists from the University of California, San Diego, suggest that statins are linked to a reduced risk of developing a severe bout of COVID-19 and a faster recovery time, according to a report in The Indian Express.

Statins are cheap and widely available medications, costing around Rs 5 to Rs 50 per tablet, depending on the dosage, and used for lowering cholesterol. 

The study found that the CH25H gene, which is responsible cholesterol metabolism, was linked to anti-coronavirus activity. The research was peer reviewed and published in the journal EMBO.

Another research, also from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, provides a further explanation for the finding. Published in the American Journal of Cardiology, it indicates that statins remove cholesterol from cell membranes, which in turn hinders the entry of the novel coronavirus into the cells.

“This is a very important study. Most heart patients and even diabetics take statins regularly and the research shows that taking the drugs regularly may reduce severity of infection even if they get Covid-19.”
Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman of Fortis Centre for Diabetes, told The Times of India

The SARS-CoV-2 virus enters human cells with the assistance of a protein known as ACE2, which is found on the cell membrane. It was found that ACE2 activity could be affected by prescription statins.

For the study, the scientists evaluated data from the electronic medical records of 170 patients with COVID-19, along with 5,281 COVID-negative control patients who had been admitted to the UC San Diego Hospital between February and June this year. Of the total number of patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, 27 per cent were taking statins on admission.

It was found that statin use was linked to a 50 per cent lower risk of developing a severe infection. Patients who had been taking statins also exhibited a quicker recovery.

“There is some biological plausibility for a protective role of statins in COVID-19 through known anti-inflammatory and immune-modulator effects as well as via upregulation of ACE2 and direct effects on the virus.”
Study Authors

(With inputs from The Indian Express and Times of India)

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