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Statins taken by eight million Britons reduce chance of dying to Covid

Statins ‘cut risk of Covid death’: Study finds cholesterol drugs taken by eight million Britons reduce chance of dying to virus by 43% in hospital patients

Cholesterol drugs taken by around eight million Britons could slash the risk of death from coronavirus, a new study has claimed.

Statins, taken to reduce ‘bad’ blood cholesterol, were found to cut mortality by 43 per cent compared to non-statin users.   

The British Heart Foundation says that statins are typically prescribed more than 70 million times a year. 

Now, a team has analysed 12 studies on the drug’s effectiveness, which looked at 110,078 patients who died of coronavirus.

Statins, taken to reduce ‘bad’ blood cholesterol, were found to cut mortality by 43 per cent compared to non-statin users

They found that giving statins to patients in hospital at the early stages of Covid infection cut the mortality rate by close to half.  

The tablets are taken once a day and come in brands including Lipitor, Lescol and Crestor. 

They are proven to help protect cholesterol sufferers from heart attacks and strokes. 

However, there is much debate over them, with side effects including weight gain, muscle pain and liver damage.  

Several studies have also been carried out to asses their effectiveness at battling Covid – with many drawing vastly different conclusions. 

The new study, however, saw a team from the Yale School of Public Health review all prior research, amounting to 12 studies of more than 100,000 Covid deaths. 

They found that people who took statins before contracting coronavirus were not protected by the drug. 

However, those who started taking them in hospital while in the early stages of the virus did see their risk of death fall by 43 per cent.

Those who took statins after getting seriously ill did not see the same fall in mortality.  

Lead author Dr Lori Daniels said: ‘We found that statins are not only safe but potentially protective against a severe Covid-19 infection.

‘Statins specifically may inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection through its known anti-inflammatory effects and binding capabilities as that could potentially stop progression of the virus.’   

Despite the positive outlook of the study, other research has come to a much different conclusion on the effectiveness of statins to battle Covid.

A study from France found in November that patients with both type 2 diabetes and Covid had a higher risk of death if they were already taking statins.

Around 12.8 per cent died in a week and 23.9 per cent within a month. 

This compared with 9.8 per cent and 18.2 per cent, respectively, in the non-statin group.

The authors of the study concluded that their findings ‘did not support’ the role of statins as a preventive measure in these people.

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