New study finds cholesterol-lowering drug could reduce coronavirus symptoms to level of a common cold

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Laboratory research. (PHOTO: 
Thana Prasongsin/Getty Images)
Laboratory research. (PHOTO: Thana Prasongsin/Getty Images)
Thana Prasongsin

Research published in Cell Press’ Sneak Peak found that cholesterol-lowering drug fenofibrate could significantly reduce the severity of Covid-19.

The research team led by Professor Yaakov Nahmias from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem focused on the ways in which the Sars-Cov-2 changes patients’ lungs in order to reproduce, News Medical reports.

Nahmias and Dr Benjamin tenOever from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York have found that the virus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates.

This results in large amounts of fat accumulating inside lung cells, which is what the virus needs in order to reproduce.

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The results may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol are at more risk to develop Covid-19.

“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.

The researchers used this information to begin screening FDA-approved medications that interfere with the virus’ ability to reproduce.

The cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) showed promising results in the lab.

Fenofibrate allowed lung cells to burn more fat, breaking the virus’s grip on those cells and preventing Covid-19’s ability to reproduce, The Sun reports.

According to the study’s results, within only five days of treatment, the virus almost completely disappeared.

“With second-wave infections spiking in countries across the globe, these findings couldn't come at a better time," Nahmias told Medical Xpress.

"The collaboration between the Nahmias and tenOever labs demonstrates the power of adopting a multi-disciplinary approach to study SARS-CoV-2 and that our findings could truly make a significant different in reducing the global burden of Covid-19,” tenOever added.

Across the world scientists are tirelessly working to develop a coronavirus vaccine, but studies suggest that vaccines may only protect patients for a few months.

Read more | New study suggests Covid-19 immunity may be lost within months

“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,” said Nahmias.

What’s Fenofibrate?

It’s a drug used alongside a proper diet to help lower “bad cholesterols and fats, and raise good cholesterol in the blood. It works by increasing the enzyme that breaks down fats in the blood”, according to WebMD. Fenofibrate works best with a proper diet and exercise.

It’s most commonly taken orally through capsules and tablets and should be taken daily at the same time each day.

Source: News Medical, The Sun, Medical Xpress, webmd.com

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