I just came across this news story.
It claims that:
Lowering cholesterol could help the body's immune system fight viral infections... when the body succumbs to a viral infection a hormone in the immune system lowers cholesterol... Therefore limiting the body's cholesterol would curb the chance for viruses to thrive.
Hence statins have been suggested.
Is is true that lowering statins would help fight infection? Previously I'd read that cholesterol was necessary for the immune system (and Paul Jaminet talks about this here) and that low cholesterol was associated with higher mortality, in part, for this reason. I can see the rationale for starving the infection of fuel, but is cholesterol (rather than glucose or some such, the main fuel?). This relates to another seeming paradox that has confused me- namely immunity and iron. i.e. we know that reducing iron availability mitigates infection, but equally iron deficiency is harmful to the immune system. One might be tempted to conclude that we simply need 'enough' cholesterol/iron etc. but that any excess is harmful, but given that cholesterol is almost entirely regulated internally by the body, why should we think that 'enough' cholesterol is much lower than what we typically have? (Of course, contra this, iron regulation is quite tight too, and we know that there are lots of other downsides to lower cholesterol).
One other possibility that suggested itself to me, is that if the body automatically reduces cholesterol production in response to infection, might an explanation of some people having lower (and so closer to "normal") cholesterol levels, be that they have chronic infections or are otherwise less healthy than those with higher cholesterol (ceteris paribus)?
(Let it be noted that I am very sceptical about any mainstream news reporting of scientific research. So this comes with the qualification that once we come across the actual research, it may well say the exact opposite to what has been reported).