There are queries floating, about the efficacy of statins on the Covid-19 viral infections. Statins are medicines that are used for cholesterol. For patients who have hypertension or heart disease, it is the way forward. Some studies were conducted between February and September 2020.
Statins May Help Protect Against Severe Covid-19
The research sample includes 10,500 individuals across 104 U.S. hospitals. All the participants were admitted with severe Covid symptoms. Prior to the hospitalization, about 42 % of the participants had taken statins to control cholesterol. Amongst this, at least 35 % were taking both statins and blood pressure medicine.
Effects Of Statin On Covid-19 Symptoms
On the basis of the study, it was seen that one-fifth of the sample participants died. The rest were released from the hospital in due course of time. It was observed that those who were taking statin had 41% less chance of dying at the hospital. The other factors like age, gender, physical health, and co-morbidities remaining constant. The American Heart Association also supported the study. The reports and findings submitted, states that statins may be connected to a 25% lower risk for developing serious symptoms of the virus.
The effects that statins have, can be attributed to the fact that they stabilize heart conditions. This helps the patients to recover from the aftereffects of the virus. However, it has also been observed, that not all who take statins have cholesterol. Some people take statin as a preventive measure. Thus, this brings the researchers and the medical fraternity to the crossroads, where the efficacy of such drugs needs to be validated. Do statins lower the health risk?
How Do Statins Work?
Statins work by providing the body with an anti-inflammatory punch. Moreover, it is observed that the use of statins also reduces the health risks by about 16 %. However, for healthy individuals the trial results are inconclusive. Statins inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection through their anti-inflammatory effects and binding capabilities. That is how it stops the progression of the virus. Therefore, doctors are asking their patients to continue using statins, ACE inhibitors, and ARBs to fight the ill effects of the virus.
Recent studies published in the EMBO journal stated that statins work in a unique manner. Tariq Rana, who is a Ph.D., professor and also the chief of the Division of Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center says it’s all about genetic coding. He and his team started decoding the genes, that were affected due to the Coronavirus.
A gene called CH25H encodes an enzyme that changes the structure of cholesterol. It produces a modified form of cholesterol. It is called 25HC. It activates another enzyme called ACAT. It leads to the depletion of cholesterol. During high viral loads in the body. Its efficacy increases. The team arrived at conclusions that stated that 25HC actually inhibited the severity of the disease. Moreover, Rana’s studies have shown that Coronavirus requires cholesterol to enter the membrane. If there is no cholesterol, it will not be able to enter.
Thus, fit people who have less cholesterol are infected less. And, patients who are already taking statins, are able to guard themselves against the virus due to the presence of the inhibitors. Moreover, Rana says that further studies can reveal data, as to how to make it applicable to the masses. It can be developed into a therapeutic treatment base model.
However, like every medicine, statins have side effects. In some patients, it may cause stomach issues, and muscle pains. Although statins are approved by FDA, 25HC can only be used in laboratory settings. So, there may be a need for more trials to fix the issue.
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