Protective Effects of Statins Administration in European and North American Patients Infected with COVID-19: A Meta-analysis

Semin Thromb Hemost. 2021 Jan 22. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1722307. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has spread rapidly throughout the world, becoming an overwhelming global health emergency. The array of injuries caused by this virus is broad and not limited to the respiratory system, but encompassing also extensive endothelial and systemic tissue damage. Since statins effectively improve endothelial function, these drugs may have beneficial effects in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, this investigation aimed to provide an updated overview on the interplay between statins and COVID-19, with particular focus on their potentially protective role against progression toward severe or critical illness and death. A systematic electronic search was performed in Scopus and PubMed up to present time. Data on statins use and COVID-19 outcomes especially in studies performed in Europe and North America were extracted and pooled. A total of seven studies met our inclusion criteria, totaling 2,398 patients (1,075 taking statins, i.e., 44.8%). Overall, statin usage in Western patients hospitalized with COVID-19 was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of progressing toward severe illness or death (odds ratio: 0.59; 95% confidence interval: 0.35-0.99). After excluding studies in which statin therapy was started during hospital admission, the beneficial effect of these drugs was magnified (odds ratio: 0.51; 95% confidence interval: 0.41-0.64). In conclusion, although randomized trials would be necessary to confirm these preliminary findings, current evidence would support a favorable effect of statins as adjuvant therapy in patients with COVID-19. Irrespective of these considerations, suspension of statin therapy seems highly unadvisable in COVID-19 patients.