Statins: a viable candidate for host-directed therapy against infectious diseases

Nat Rev Immunol. 2019 Feb;19(2):104-117. doi: 10.1038/s41577-018-0094-3.


Statins were first identified over 40 years ago as lipid-lowering drugs and have been remarkably effective in treating cardiovascular diseases. As research advanced, the protective effects of statins were additionally attributed to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, anti-thrombotic and immunomodulatory functions rather than lipid-lowering abilities alone. By promoting host defence mechanisms and inhibiting pathological inflammation, statins increase survival in human infectious diseases. At the cellular level, statins inhibit the intermediates of the host mevalonate pathway, thus compromising the immune evasion strategies of pathogens and their survival. Here, we discuss the potential use of statins as an inexpensive and practical alternative or adjunctive host-directed therapy for infectious diseases caused by intracellular pathogens, such as viruses, protozoa, fungi and bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Inflammation / drug therapy


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors