This drug treatment could reduce COVID-19 death by 25%

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Coronavirus has infected more than 40 million people around the world and has caused more than a million deaths in less than a year.

Moreover, it is still not clear why some people who contract the virus show no symptoms whereas others may die or suffer very severe consequences.

Although age, illnesses and previous treatments can be used to give a prognosis in some cases, it is still not possible to state for certain how each case of coronavirus will evolve.

One of the treatments that have been discussed in regard to their role in the evolution of COVID-19 has been statins.

These drugs help to reduce cholesterol in the blood and thus prevent cardiovascular diseases.

They are currently taken by one in four people and are the most widely used medicine among the general public.

In a new study, researchers found that people who are being treated with statins have a 22% to 25% lower risk of dying from COVID-19.

The research was conducted by a team at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) and Pere Virgili Institut (IISPV).

In the study, the team collected information from 2,159 patients infected with SARS-COv-2 from 19 hospitals in Catalonia during the first wave of the pandemic from March to May.

They evaluated one hundred clinical variables per patient such as age, sex, previous illnesses, cholesterol levels, the evolution of the virus, treatments used for COVID-19, and so on.

The researchers then compared death rates of patients being treated with statins with death rates among those who were not and they also analyzed the effect of withdrawing statins when the patient was admitted to the hospital.

They found the percentage of patients who died in the group not treated with statins was 25.4%, whereas it was 19.8% among those who were, which is to say, the treatment group had 22% lower mortality.

Furthermore, if treatment with this medicine continued during hospitalization, mortality fell by up to 25%, thus preventing one in four deaths.

The team says one of the indirect effects of the pandemic is that some people have stopped taking preventive measures aimed at combatting chronic diseases or maintaining general health, and this has been the case with statins.

Some health professionals have even advised their withdrawal in the belief that they could worsen the effects of COVID-19.

In this regard, in addition, the virus to directly causing death in some patients, complications and overall mortality can increase due to the withdrawal of these drugs and regular monitoring of the use of this medicine.

Although the research was never intended to demonstrate that administering statins to COVID-19 patients would reduce the risk of death, it does open the way for studies that may confirm this finding.

One author of the study is Lluís Masana.

The study is published in the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.

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