A team of experts from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has done a new study that has found that widely known statin drugs that are used to reduce the levels of cholesterol might be able to reduce the risk of mortality. The authors of the study have looked at the health records of 1 million residents of Stockholm who have been in the age range of 45 years and above from March and November 2020. Among the participants of the study, nearly 18 percent of them have been given a statin such as simvastatin from Merck & Co. known as Zocor, and atorvastatin from Pfizer Inc. known as Lipitor. The findings of the study have shown people who have been prescribed statin drugs have been at a reduced risk of developing serious complications due to COVID19 infection. Most participants who have been prescribed statin medicines to reduce the levels of cholesterol and have shown fewer outcomes of COVID19 infection have been male. They have been older in age. These people have been found with more underlying health issues. They have belonged to low-income households and have has less disposable income. After health experts have adjusted these factors, then also, these people who have been taking statin drugs have been at a 12 percent reduced risk of death due to COVID19 infection. The authors have released the findings of the study in a journal called PLOS Medicine.
The authors of the study have not compared the findings of the study in people who have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Health experts who have been involved in the study have relied on prescriptions to gather data on people who have been taking statin medications. They have not analyzed whether people have been taking statin drugs as prescribed by health care providers. However, after adjusting all factors, it has been proven that treatments with statin drugs might have a modest preventive beneficial effect on the risk of mortality linked to COVID19 infection. Experts have said that the link between reduced risk of fatality due to COVID19 and statin drugs has been examined to understand the pleiotropic impact of statins on coagulation and immune response. Many past studies on the same topic have been observational ones and have been found with design drawbacks. The findings of these studies have led to major heterogeneity and doubts. In the new study, the exposure to statin treatment among the participants has taken place before the COVID19 pandemic has hit the region. Experts have collected the data on deaths from the Swedish Cause of Death Registry. They have used multivariable Cox regression models to evaluate hazard ratios (HRs). The authors of the study have further conducted a target trial emulation limited to initiators of statin treatments. As per the experts, around 2545 participants have lost their lives due to COVID19 during the follow-up of the study. In the cohort, nearly 51.6 percent of them have been women. Around 53.3 percent of statin users have been male with a median age of 71 years. These male participants have been mostly on anticoagulant and antihypertensive treatments. Around 765 statin drug users and 1780 non-users have lost their lives to COVID19 infection during the follow-up of the research. The authors of the study have concluded that statin therapy has been linked to a reduced risk of fatality due to COVID19.
The authors of the study have mentioned that statin therapy might have a modest negative link to the mortality related to COVID19 infection. As per the findings of the study, people should continue with the statin treatment for health issues such as cardiovascular disease, and hyperlipidemia during the COVID19 pandemic as per the existing guidelines by the health officials. However, experts have said that there is a need for further confirmation and randomized clinical trials to verify the link between statin therapy and the reduced risk of death related to COVID19. Many health experts are trying to find different alternative therapies and treatments to save as many lives as possible during the pandemic. Experts have cautioned people saying that people should not only rely on alternative therapies, as vaccines are the only safe and most effective option to prevent COVID19 disease. Recently some experts have also said that getting booster shots from a different COVID19 vaccine might be safe and will help trigger a stronger immune response. A recent study has found that people who have been vaccinated with the single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson initially have shown a much better immune response after they have received booster shots from a different COVID19 shot. This study has been conducted by the National Institutes of Health. The study has enrolled more than 450 people who have been given initial shots of either Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. The study has noted that mixing and matching booster shots with various vaccine tools is quite a safe practice among adults. Pfizer- BioNTech and Moderna COVID19 shots have been designed with the help of an mRNA tool while the single-dose shot developed by Johnson & Johnson works on viral vector technology. The new study has looked at a total of nine groupings of initial shots and booster shots. The authors of the study have said that using different types of COVID19 shots for booster doses can produce a more robust immune response and higher levels of antibodies as compared to using the same type of shot for booster doses. They have said that mixing and matching vaccines for booster doses will offer immunological benefits as well that can improve the endurance and breadth of immunity, which is derived from currently existing COVID19 shots.