In a new study from the University of Birmingham, researchers found a licensed drug normally used to treat abnormal levels of fatty substances in the blood could reduce COVID-19 infection by up to 70%.
They found that the drug fenofibrate and its active form (fenofibric acid) can strongly reduce COVID infection in human cells.
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 team is now calling for clinical trials to test the drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, 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, the team tested a panel of already licensed drugs—including fenofibrate—to find candidates that disrupt ACE2 and Spike interactions.
Having identified 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.
They 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Additional unpublished data also indicates that fenofibrate is equally effective against the newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the alpha and beta variants and research is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.
The study 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, the data has global implications.
It is important for people whom vaccines are not recommended or suitable such as children, those with hyper-immune disorders and those using immune-suppressants.
If you care about COVID, please read studies about many Americans take immune-weakening drugs that may lower COVID vaccine response and findings of COVID-19 may strongly change your brain.
For more information about COVID and your health, please see recent studies about why bald men may have higher risk of severe COVID-19 and results showing that COVID-19 could cause impotence in men.
The study is published in Frontiers in Pharmacology. One author of the study is Dr. Farhat Khanim.
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