An innovative new drug can prevent heart attacks and strokes by cutting bad cholesterol to unprecedented levels, say doctors. The results of the large international trial on 27,000 patients means the drug could soon be used by millions.

The British Heart Foundation said the findings were a significant advance in fighting the biggest killer in the world. Around 15 million people die each year from heart attacks or stroke. Bad cholesterol is the villain in heart world – it leads to blood vessels furring up, becoming easy to block which fatally starves the heart or brain of oxygen. It is why millions of people take drugs called statins to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol.

The new drug – evolocumab – changes the way the liver works to also cut bad cholesterol. “It is much more effective than statins,” said Prof Peter Sever, from Imperial College London. He organized the bit of the trial taking place in the UK with funding from the drug company Amgen.

Prof Sever told the BBC News website: “The end result was cholesterol levels came down and down and down and we’ve seen cholesterol levels lower than we have ever seen before in the practice of medicine.”

Read more: ‘Huge advance’ in fighting world’s biggest killer – BBC News