Analysis of data from the UK General Practice Research Database indicated that statins might prevent respiratory infections.
The study included 4,719 patients with type-one or type-two diabetes who had a first recorded diagnosis of pneumonia and 15,322 diabetic controls matched for age, sex and practice.
Overall, 1.1 per cent of cases and 2.1 per cent of controls were taking statins at the index date.
The researchers found a 51 per cent reduced chance of developing pneumonia among statin users. The findings add to growing evidence that statins have immune and inflammatory effects, in addition to lipid-lowering properties.
The researchers suggested that statins could have a similar effect in the general population.