Statin treatments, a medicine used to control cholesterol, reduce mortality by between 22 and 25% by COVID-19, according to a study in which they have participated 19 Catalan hospitals coordinated by the Pere Virgili Health Research Institute (ISSPV).

The study, also led by the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), was carried out during the first wave of the pandemic and has been published in the scientific journal “European Heart Journal Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy”. Statins lower blood cholesterol, prevent cardiovascular disease, and they are the drug most used by the general population, although it has been the subject of medical debate for its role in the evolution of the pandemic.

The health crisis has led to the abandonment of preventive measures for chronic diseases and even some doctors have advised against taking statins believing that they could worsen the effects of COVID-19. Lluís Massana, a researcher at the URV and the Sant Joan de Reus University Hospital who directed the study, highlighted the importance of “not abandoning statins because prevent one in five deaths from coronavirus “.

The study used the Network of Lipids and Arteriosclerosis Units of Catalonia (XULA) to collect information on 2,159 infected patients for SARS-CoV-2, admitted to 19 hospitals in Catalonia between March and May. The researchers evaluated about 100 clinical variables per patient such as age, sex, previous illnesses, cholesterol levels, evolution of the illness and treatments used to treat COVID.

The mortality data of those patients who followed a statin treatment were compared with those of those who did not take them, and also the effect of removing them or not was assessed at the time of admission. The study showed that the percentage of patients who died in the group that did not take statins was 25.4% and among those who took the drug, 19.8%, 22% less.

“The data indicate that with statin treatment one in five deaths was avoided,” explained Massana, who has indicated that if the patient continued taking statins during hospitalization for COVID-19 the percentage of deaths was reduced by up to 25%.

According to Massana, “it is not only shown that treatment with statins does not worsen the course of COVID-19, but that significantly reduces mortality of patients. “The study also found that” in no case can fear of the pandemic be used to justify suspending treatment, “says Massana.

The research was not designed to show that giving statins to COVID-19 patients would reduce the risk of death, but it does open the doors to conduct a study to check.