A new study led by Chinese researchers in collaboration with UCLA’s Dr. Yibin Wang, PhD, has shown that people hospitalized with COVID-19 who took statin drugs were less likely to die and less likely to need mechanical ventilation than those who did not take the cholesterol-lowering drugs. Hospitalized patients taking statins had a 5.2% mortality rate, compared to a 9.4% mortality rate in patients not taking statins from two groups of COVID-19 patients with matching clinic characteristics except statin usage. Statin use also was linked to lower levels of inflammation, and a lower incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome and admission to intensive care units.
The researchers looked back at the records of 13,981 COVID-19 patients admitted to 21 hospitals in the Hubei Province, China. Of those patients, 1,219 were given statins for an average of 25 days during hospitalization. Among patients with hypertension, 319 used statins combined with ACE inhibitors or ARBs, and 603 used statins combined with other antihypertensive drugs. Researchers analyzed mortality rates as well as secondary outcomes, including the need for mechanical ventilation, admission to intensive care units and acute respiratory distress syndrome. They also measured the levels of three inflammation biomarkers – circulating C reactive protein, interleukin 6 and neutrophil counts – selected to represent the overall status of systemic inflammation in the body.