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expert reaction to study looking at statins and risk of death from COVID-19

A study published in PLOS Medicine looks at statins and COVID-19 mortality in Stockholm, Sweden.


Prof Tim Chico, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, University of Sheffield, said:

“COVID19 can cause very severe lung infections but it also causes inflammation of the blood vessels. Because statins reduce inflammation in blood vessels there has been a lot of debate as to whether they might improve outcome in COVID19.

“This study does not prove that statins reduce death in COVID19, but does provide some supportive clues. It observes that people prescribed statins were less likely to die than similar people. However, this does not prove the statins caused the reduced death rates; to do so needs a randomised controlled trial of the kind the RECOVERY investigators have pioneered (for which they deserve our gratitude).

“There has been far too much speculation and premature confidence about which drugs are useful for COVID (such as hydroxychloroquine). It’s important to learn from this and to be suitably measured in how we describe these results. This study does suggest statins are safe in COVID19 (which is reassuring but was never really in question). These results do not in any way justify using statins to treat COVID19. We already have effective ways to lower risk of death in COVID19; social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing and vaccination in the population and use of techniques and drugs with a good evidence base (like dexamethasone) in people with severe COVID19 infections.”



‘HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and COVID-19 mortality in Stockholm, Sweden: a registry3 based cohort study’ by Rita Bergqvist et al. was published in PLOS Medicine at 19:00 UK time on Thursday 14 October 2021.



All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:



Declared interests

Prof Tim Chico: “none.”

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