COVID-19 Drugs: Fenofibrate-A Cholesterol Lowering Drug Reduces SARS-CoV-2 Infection By Up To 70 Per Cent According to British and Italian Scientists
: Scientists from the University of Birmingham and Keele University in the UK and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy have demonstrated that the licensed cholesterol lowering drug fenofibrate and its active form (fenofibric acid) can significantly reduce SARS-COV-2 infection in human cells in the laboratory. Importantly, reduction of infection was obtained using concentrations of the drug which are safe and achievable using the standard clinical dose of fenofibrate.
In order to identify drugs to repurpose to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections, the study team established a screen to measure the dimerization of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the primary receptor for the virus.
This novel screen identified fenofibric acid, the active metabolite of fenofibrate
. Fenofibric acid also destabilized the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein and inhibited RBD binding to ACE2 in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and whole cell-binding assays.
Fenofibrate and fenofibric acid were tested by two independent laboratories measuring infection of cultured Vero cells using two different SARS-CoV-2 isolates. In both settings at drug concentrations, which are clinically achievable, fenofibrate and fenofibric acid reduced viral infection by up to 70%. Together with its extensive history of clinical use and its relatively good safety profile, this study identifies fenofibrate as a potential therapeutic agent requiring an urgent clinical evaluation to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Frontiers in Pharmacology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.660490/full
Thailand Medical News had already covered about the possible use of fenofibrate to treat COVID-19 since July 2020. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-drugs-israeli-researchers-discover-that-cholesterol-lowering-drug-fenofibrate-tricor-could-downgrade-covid-19-severity
Thailand Medical News also reviewed the same study was it was first published as a preprint in January 2021. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/covid-19-drugs-new-european-study-shows-that-fenofibrate-tricor-exhibits-antiviral-properties-against-sars-cov-2-coronavirus
The mainstream media have only started covering the study findings after it was peer reviewed and published in the journal: Frontiers in Pharmacology.
Fenofibrate, is a licensed drug used to treat abnormal blood lipid levels and is used along with a proper diet to help lower "bad" cholesterol and fats (such as LDL, triglycerides) and raise "good" cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. It works by increasing the natural substance (enzyme) that breaks down fats in the blood.<
It is sold under the brand name Tricor but numerous other cheaper generic versions are available such as Supralip NT which only cost about US$15 for a month’s supply in Thailand.
The study found that Fenofibrate could reduce infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by up to 70 percent, reveals a study in the laboratory by an international collaboration of researchers.
The study team demonstrated that fenofibrate and its active form (fenofibric acid) can significantly reduce SARS-COV-2 infection in human cells in the laboratory. Importantly, reduction of infection was obtained using concentrations of the drug which are safe and achievable using the standard clinical dose of fenofibrate.
Fenofibrate, which is approved for use by most countries in the world including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), is an oral drug currently used to treat conditions such as high levels of cholesterol and lipids (fatty substances) in the blood.
The study team is now calling for clinical trials to test the drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, to be carried out in addition to two clinical trials also currently underway in such patients in research being led by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the US and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the pathogen that causes the COVID-19 disease, infects the host through an interaction between the Spike protein on the surface of the virus and the ACE2 receptor protein on host cells.
In this study, responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers tested a panel of already licensed drugs including fenofibrate to identify candidates that disrupt ACE2 and Spike interactions.
Upon identifying fenofibrate as a candidate, they then tested the efficacy of the drug in reducing infection in cells in the laboratory using the original strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus isolated in 2020.
The study team found fenofibrate reduced infection by up to 70%. Additional unpublished data also indicates that fenofibrate is equally effective against the newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the alpha and beta variants and research is ongoing into its efficacy in the delta variant.
Dr Farhat Khanim, the corresponding author who hails from the University of Birmingham-UK told Thailand Medical News, "The development of new more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variants has resulted in a rapid expansion in infection rates and deaths in several countries around the world, especially the UK, US and Europe. Whilst vaccine programs will hopefully reduce infection rates and virus spread in the longer term, there is still an urgent need to expand our arsenal of drugs to treat SARS-CoV-2-positive patients."
Dr Alan Richardson from Keele University-UK and co-corresponding author added, "Whilst in some countries vaccination programs are progressing at speed, vaccine uptake rates are variable and for most low middle income countries, significant proportions of the population are unlikely to be vaccinated until 2022. Furthermore, whilst vaccination has been shown to reduce infection rates and severity of disease, we are as yet unsure of the strength and duration of the response. Therapies are still urgently needed to manage COVID-19 patients who develop symptoms or require hospitalization."
Dr Elisa Vicenzi from the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan-Italy, a co-author of the study further added, "Our data indicates that fenofibrate may have the potential to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and also virus spread. Given that fenofibrate is an oral drug which is very cheap and available worldwide, together with its extensive history of clinical use and its good safety profile, our data has global implications especially in low-middle income countries and in those individuals for whom vaccines are not recommended or suitable such as children, those with hyper-immune disorders and those using immune-suppressants."
The study team is now urgently trying to get more randomized clinical trials executed so that it can be established as to whether or not fenofibrate can be a potential therapeutic agent to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is currently fast accelerating with numerous surges across the globe caused by the Delta variant and there is a need for more therapeutic agents as data is emerging that the vaccines are gradually losing the race. More potent and transmissible variants are emerging to become prevalent in circulation including the lethal Lambda variant and the just emerged Mu and Nu variants which are being studied. To date more than 202 million people across the world have been infected with the novel coronavirus and only 4.28 million people have died from the pandemic.
Though death rates have been disappointingly low for most eugenics believers and genocide advocates including new converts like myself who are now convinced that the earth is overcrowded with lots of stupid, ignorant, greedy, disgusting and hopeless human beings, hopefully things will pick up in the coming surges and the emergence of the ultimate omega strain should debut by mid next year.
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