Taking cholesterol-lowering drug could reduce severity of coronavirus to the level of the common cold, study suggests
- Cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) is providing a glimmer of hope
- Scientists in New York and Jerusalem believe the drug could help reduce COVID
- The drug reduces symptoms so that COVID-19 is no worse than a common cold
Two scientists researching a potential treatment for coronavirus believe they may have success with a common remedy used to lower cholesterol.
Professor Yaakov Nahmias, of Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been working for the past three months with Dr Benjamin tenOever at New York’s Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
In lab studies, the cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) showed extremely promising results, they reported.
The pair’s research appears in this week’s Cell Press Sneak Peak.
The two have focused on the ways in which COVID-19 changes patients’ lungs in order to reproduce itself.
Scientists working in New York and Jerusalem believe they may have found a useful drug
They discovered that the virus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates. As a result, large amounts of fat accumulate inside lung cells, a condition the virus needs in order to reproduce, MedicalXpress reported.
The team believe their findings may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels are often at a particularly high risk to develop COVID-19.
Viruses are parasites that lack the ability to replicate on their own, so they take control of our cells to help accomplish that task.
‘By understanding how the SARS-CoV-2 controls our metabolism, we can wrestle back control from the virus and deprive it from the very resources it needs to survive,’ said Nahmias.
Professor Yaakov Nahmias of Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been leading the research
He has been working with Benjamin tenOever in New York to investigate potential solutions
Nahmias and tenOever then began to screen FDA-approved medications that interfere with the virus’ ability to reproduce.
More than 3.7 million Americans have become infected with COVID-19
‘By allowing lung cells to burn more fat, fenofibrate breaks the virus’ grip on these cells, and prevents SARS CoV-2’s ability to reproduce,’ the site said.
‘In fact, within only five days of treatment, the virus almost completely disappeared.’
Nahmias said the decision could be vital in the fight against the pandemic.
‘With second-wave infections spiking in countries across the globe, these findings couldn’t come at a better time,’ he said.
‘Global cooperation may provide the cure.’
The cholesterol medicine is widely available but appears to show interesting results
While there are many international efforts currently underway to develop a coronavirus vaccine, studies suggest that vaccines may only protect patients for a few months.
Therefore, blocking the virus’ ability to function, rather than neutralizing its ability to strike in the first place, may be the key to turning the tables on COVID-19.
‘If our findings are borne out by clinical studies, this course of treatment could potentially downgrade COVID-19’s severity into nothing worse than a common cold,’ Nahmias concluded.