London: Statin treatment -- generally used to lower the cholesterol level -- slightly lowered COVID-19 mortality, finds a study.
Statins are a recommended and common intervention for preventing cardiovascular events by reducing levels of lipoprotein cholesterol in the blood.
To understand the link, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden followed 9,63,876 residents of Stockholm above the age of 45 between March and November 2020.
The results published in PLOS Medicine showed that statin treatment was associated with a slightly lower risk of dying from COVID-19, a correlation that did not vary significantly among risk groups.
"Our results suggest that statin treatment can have a moderate prophylactic effect on COVID-19 mortality," said Rita Bergqvist, Medical student at Karolinska Institutet.
"All in all, our findings support the continued use of statins for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and high levels of blood lipids in line with current recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic," Viktor Ahlqvist added, Doctoral student at the Department of Global Public Health, Karolinska Institutet.
However, this finding needs confirmation from randomised clinical trials, the researchers said.
Hyperinflammation and hypercoagulability have been identified as central to the development of severe COVID-19 disease and complications. Hence, drugs that modulate the host immune response and inhibit thrombosis and vascular dysfunction have received widespread attention.
Hyperinflammation is uncontrolled, self-perpetuating and tissue-damaging inflammatory activity while Hypercoagulability can be defined as the tendency to have thrombosis as a result of certain inherited and/or acquired molecular defects.
One limitation of the study concerns the use of prescription data without the possibility of checking individual drug use. The researchers were also not able to control for risk factors such as smoking and high Body Mass Index, only diagnosed health status.