COVID-19 Drugs: Israeli Researchers Discover That Cholesterol-Lowering Drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) Could Downgrade COVID-19 Severity
: A research team led by Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)'s Professor Dr Yaakov Nahmias says that a simple and inexpensive cholesterol-lowering drug called Fenofibrate (Tricor) that is been approved and on the market for decades could help downgrade the severity of COVID-19 disease.
The early research finding which looks promising has been published in the preprint section of the Journal: Cell in a column called Cell Press Sneak Peak while it is being peer-reviewed. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3650499
In the last three months, Dr Nahmias and Dr Benjamin tenOever at New York's Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have focused on the ways in which the SARS-CoV-2 changes patients' lungs in order to reproduce itself.
Among their major findings is the fact that the novel coronavirus 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. This new understanding of SARS CoV-2 may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels are often at a particularly high risk to develop COVID-19.
Typically viruses are parasites that lack the ability to replicate on their own, so they take control of host cells to help accomplish that task.
Dr Nahmias explained to Thailand Medical News, "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."
Armed with this information in hand, Dr Nahmias and Dr tenOever began to screen FDA-approved medications that interfere with the virus' ability to reproduce.
Significantly, in lab studies, the cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) showed extremely promising results. 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. In fact, within only five days of treatment, the virus almost completely disappeared.
Dr Nahmias added, "With second-wave infections spiking in countries across the globe, these findings could not come at a better time, and global cooperation may provide the cure.”
Dr tenOever added, "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."
Though there are many international efforts currently underway to develop a coronavirus vaccine, studies suggest that vaccines may only protect patients for a few months.
Hence it is therefore critical to find a way to block the coronavirus' ability to function, rather than neutralizing its ability to strike in the first place and such an approach may be the key to turning the tables on COVID-19.
Dr Nahmias concluded, "If our findings are borne out by clinical studies, this course of treatment could potentia
lly downgrade COVID-19's severity into nothing worse than a common cold."
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