A common cholesterol drug could cut coronavirus infection by up to 70%, Fox News reports.

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A drug originally designed to treat cholesterol has been found to reduce coronavirus infection by 70% in a new lab study, with researchers calling for additional clinical trials among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

A joint team of researchers from the U.K. and Italy published their findings in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal on Friday. They show that fenofibrate and fenofibric acid resulted in a significant reduction in coronavirus infection in human cells when the drug was used in safe and approved concentrations.

Cholesterol Drug and Coronavirus

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“Our data indicates that fenofibrate may have the potential to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and also virus spread,” Dr. Elisa Vicenzi of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan and co-author, said in a press release. 


“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.”

The team have called for further clinical trials to explore use of the drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19, while noting that studies are ongoing at the University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew University of Jerusalem

“Whilst vaccine programmes 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,” another of the study authors wrote.

Another author drew attention to the fact that the duration and strength of the protection offered by the vaccines remain to be seen, adding that new therapies are still required to manage patients who develop symptoms or are hospitalised.

We recently wrote about how treatment with a common cytokine made obese mice quite literally SWEAT off excess fat weight, in one of 2021’s craziest scientific discoveries. Could this treatment be used on humans in future? Click here to read more.

It is suggested that the drug works by preventing the harmful overproduction of cytokines – the so-called “cytokine storm” – and also reducing inflammation of the airways. The study’s authors also noted that it could also prevent the blood clotting seen in many late-stage COVID-19 patients.

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