Statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality and decreased need for ventilator support

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Statins are medications widely used in the management of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome. Statins help lower serum lipids by blocking HMG-CoA reductase (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-coenzyme A reductase), the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol biosynthesis.

They are also known to have pleiotropic effects, including immunomodulation, anti-inflammation, upregulation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor expression, antioxidation, and antithrombosis.

Theoretically, since ACE2 is the entry receptor of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), chronic use of statins could increase susceptibility to COVID-19. However, ACE2 also mediates the conversion of angiotensin II to angiotensin (1–7) peptide, which protects lung damage. Thus, the net influence of the use of statins on COVID-19 is not evident. The use of statins to influence the clinical course and prognosis of COVID-19 is increasingly drawing the attention of researchers.

Investigating the effect of statin use on COVID-19 outcomes

Researchers from the Republic of China recently conducted a study to investigate the association between statin use and COVID-19 outcomes and identify the population subgroup that can benefit from the use of statins. The research is published in the open-access journal, Annals of Medicine.

They performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of previously published studies on statin users and COVID-19 outcomes. They used the generic inverse variance method for meta-analyses with random-effects modeling. The key outcomes were the need for intensive care unit (ICU) care, the need for invasive mechanical ventilator (IMV) support, and mortality. All these outcomes were determined as dichotomous variables.

Findings show that statin use is significantly associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality

The researchers reviewed 28 observational studies that covered data from 63,537 COVID-19 patients. The results showed that statin use was significantly associated with reduced all-cause mortality and the need for IMV in COVID-19 patients. However, the use of statins was not associated with the need for ICU care. Subgroup analysis identified five types of studies in which patients taking statins had lower chances of death.

Subgroup analysis showed that the use of statins prevented more deaths in studies that had a case fatality rate (CFR) under 20% compared to studies with a CFR of over 20%. This implies that the benefit of statin use is likely more significant when the COVID-19 mortality rate in the community is decreased.

The meta-analyses also reveals that while the use of statins was associated with reduced need for IMV, it did not prevent ICU admission. Statins offer lung protection, likely by upregulating ACE2 expression, which leads to increased angiotensin (1–7) production and hence decreases the need for ventilator support. However, they did not reduce other non-pulmonary events, including cardiovascular complications or sepsis.

Study confirms that patients may safely continue statin use during COVID-19 infection

According to the authors, the findings on statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality agree with previous studies' results. Statin users are usually older compared to non-statin users and have more comorbidities, both of which are risk factors for COVID-19 mortality.  Thus, the association between the use of statins and COVID-19 mortality may not be obvious as the increased risks from host factors may counter the protective effect of statins.

The findings of this analysis showed that participants with COVID-19 in 5 types of studies had lower odds of death while on statins. This shows that individuals taking statins may not need to discontinue statin use on admission during COVID-19 infection. The authors believe that randomized controlled trials are required to clarify the causal effect between the use of statins and severe COVID-19 outcomes.

In terms of limitations, the authors mentioned that although currently, available evidence shows that statins may be beneficial for COVID-19 patients, there is no clarity when it comes to a particular drug name, dose, or duration.

Also, since a significant portion of the study participants had comorbidities such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, they might have been on concomitant medications such as ACE inhibitors, metformin, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. These medications have been shown to influence COVID-19 mortality and prognosis.

"The influence of interaction between statins and co-medications on COVID-19 remains unclear and might impact the estimate of statins' effect. Future RCTs are needed to solve the limitations mentioned above."

Journal reference:
Susha Cheriyedath

Written by

Susha Cheriyedath

Susha is a scientific communication professional holding a Master's degree in Biochemistry, with expertise in Microbiology, Physiology, Biotechnology, and Nutrition. After a two-year tenure as a lecturer from 2000 to 2002, where she mentored undergraduates studying Biochemistry, she transitioned into editorial roles within scientific publishing. She has accumulated nearly two decades of experience in medical communication, assuming diverse roles in research, writing, editing, and editorial management.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Cheriyedath, Susha. (2021, June 11). Statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality and decreased need for ventilator support. News-Medical. Retrieved on April 23, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Cheriyedath, Susha. "Statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality and decreased need for ventilator support". News-Medical. 23 April 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Cheriyedath, Susha. "Statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality and decreased need for ventilator support". News-Medical. (accessed April 23, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Cheriyedath, Susha. 2021. Statins associated with reduced COVID-19 mortality and decreased need for ventilator support. News-Medical, viewed 23 April 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Study suggests high levels of vitamin B3 breakdown products are linked to higher risk of mortality, heart attacks, and stroke