A licensed drug normally used to treat abnormal levels of fatty substances in the blood could reduce infection caused by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) by up to 70 percent, reveals a study in the laboratory by an international collaboration of researchers.
The research team, led by the University of Birmingham and Keele University in the UK and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy, has 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 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.
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, responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the team tested a panel of already licensed drugs – including fenofibrate – to identify 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 Additional unpublished data also indicates that fenofibrate is equally effective against the newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the alpha and beta variants and research is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.
Corresponding author Dr. Farhat Khanim, of the University of Birmingham in the UK, explained: “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.”
Co-corresponding author Dr. Alan Richardson, of Keele University in the UK, 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.”
Co-author Dr. Elisa Vicenzi, of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, Italy, said: “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.”
First author Dr. Scott Davies, also of the University of Birmingham, concluded: “We now urgently need further clinical studies to establish whether fenofibrate is a potential therapeutic agent to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection.”
Reference: “The Hyperlipidaemic Drug Fenofibrate Significantly Reduces Infection by SARS-CoV-2 in Cell Culture Models” by Scott P. Davies, Courtney J. Mycroft-West, Isabel Pagani, Harriet J. Hill, Yen-Hsi Chen, Richard Karlsson, Ieva Bagdonaite, Scott E. Guimond, Zania Stamataki, Marcelo Andrade De Lima, Jeremy E. Turnbull, Zhang Yang, Elisa Vicenzi, Mark A. Skidmore, Farhat L. Khanim6 and Alan Richardson, 6 August 2021, Frontiers in Pharmacology.
The research, published on August 6, 2021, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, was also carried out in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Liverpool in the UK.
I realize I will sound conspiracy prone to some, but I’m afraid if it works too well, it’ll likely never get approved for Covid use because Big Pharma WANTS to sell vaccine variants until the end of time. Covid is a gold mine to them and curing it stops the money train. Do you think they want solutions that eliminate Covid as a threat entirely? That’s not good for business and people will go to great lengths to justify their actions when greed is the true motivation. Plus people of two major political parties seem to attack anything the other party recommends, whether they work or not to score political points, which I find disgusting, but I’ve seen the conversations online first hand.
Big Pharma PREFERS treatments that keep diseases like Aids at bay rather than cure them entirely (again, it’s more $$$ that way) else we could have had vaccines for things like Ebola decades ago. If there’s no money in it and it doesn’t affect the “West” then they don’t generally care about it. But look how fast they made a vaccine when it did threaten the West….
New research just showed that vaccines place “pressure” on the virus to mutate further, but basing a vaccine on a different part of the protein that doesn’t mutate as much (same for other viruses like the Flu which have parts that mutate constantly and other parts that almost never mutate) may get around this endless cycle. Somehow, I don’t expect new vaccines to appear any time soon that take advantage of this, at least not for Covid, which has a worldwide potential audience of buyers at 8 BILLION for each iteration! That’s a LOT of money!
Zinc is one of the few things that has worked to help get rid of common colds faster and even prevent symptoms and there is evidence it may help against Covid as well (Covid is from one of families of common cold viruses and works in the same area, namely the lungs) by slowing or even stopping viral reproduction (For example, I went from an average of 2-6 colds every year to 1 cold every 6 years by taking zinc at the first sign of a cold), but you’ll NEVER see health professionals recommend it because it’s not something that can be patented and make huge money and as a treatment only. Furthermore, because it cannot “cure” only help prevent so legally they can’t recommend a vitamin either. It seems things must be artificial and patentable in order for these companies to spend the money for the trials needed to medically recommend them.
There’s an experimental nasal spray made from Llama micro anti-bodies that appears to eliminate Covid from one’s lungs by up to 70% or more almost instantly, but it’s nowhere NEAR human trials and may never be (for any useful purpose as the pandemic may be over sooner) at the slow “non-emergency” speeds it’s being tested while people die. Apparently, it’s OK if you die of Covid rather than push the Llama nasal spray for voluntary testing because if Covid kills you, they aren’t to blame, but if they give you a drug that kills you, well, they want assurances that they can’t be sued (hence the “emergency” status of Covid vaccines in general). I know if I were in the ICU, I’d probably take that nasal spray as a volunteer rather than my chances with a ventilator (when 97% died on them in NYC; they don’t seem very helpful AT ALL while oxygen masks worked much better in all but the worst cases).
It seems they’ll wait until after Delta has already burned itself out and sell it as a “booster” at that point. Mark my words. If stopping death were priority #1, they’d have those Delta boosters NOW (It’s just a tweak to the existing vaccine and shouldn’t nee testing from scratch all over again) instead of later rather than harping about masks instead that haven’t been shown to make significant differences in studies that look at actual results and not just “droplet testing” (like the Denmark study), let alone lockdowns that haven’t been proven to cut deaths, but have proven to costs jobs and life savings.
Sadly, masking appears to be more of a feel good way for politicians to say they’re doing something and get the masses angry at each other rather than them. Now that N95 are available, people could/should use those instead, but if you’ve never used one, you know you can’t wear them all day long without being exhausted as they are truly hard to breathe in for any length of time.
Frankly, I’d take a Delta specific booster over a mask any day of the week as the differences of PROVEN effectiveness for stopping the actual disease (not just anecdotal cases of barbers not passing it on when we now know that “time” was a big factor in catching it and a haircut doesn’t take that long compared to sitting in school or a job all day long) are night and day, not to mention discomfort from a vaccine lasts a day or two for most while breathing through 8-hour old masks is the definition of being miserable, although I’m sure some are more tolerant of masks than others. Delta is so contagious the usefulness of even the best masks are cut in half yet again on top of that.
But just by bringing masks up, there are some that will claim I’m anti-mask, anti-vax, or whatever nonsense as you literally CANNOT have a conversation about “settled science” topics these days even the only thing ‘settled’ about them is that one side got mass media to BAN the other side from giving their viewpoints, however correct/incorrect they may be (see controversy around Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard University to see what I mean). We live in an era of “narratives” where journalism only investigates/reports things that support their narrative, not the things that do not and that applies to both sides of the party aisle.
I wore a mask almost everywhere for over a year and worked every day of the pandemic as an essential worker, but the vaccines are vastly more effective than masks and we need a carrot for people to take the vaccines and being able to ditch questionable, often improperly used masks are a better carrot than they are a protective device. The idea you can 100% eliminate mutations by forcing everyone to wear a mask or get a vaccine is utterly unrealistic in a world where most of the planet hasn’t had a single dose and this thing spreads like wildfire around the planet. We will eventually have to learn to live with this virus and I certainly don’t intend to wear a mask the rest of my life (at some point QUALITY of life has to mean something over mere existence or life isn’t worth living; depression is on the rise as are tempers flaring and suicides among younger people are higher than ever so anything that gets us back to something closer to normal is NEEDED, IMO. So bring on the boosters if that’s what it takes to get rid of masks and get us out of our houses again! We cannot live in perpetual fear or the virus really will have won.
Good luck finding the actual truth in the future. It will become more and more elusive. Washington and California have a Delta problem too, but you ONLY hear about Florida on the news (and maybe Texas) and there’s a reason for that. Most media outlets support a given side’s narrative ONLY. It’s wrong, but when two parties hate each other like they do these days, that’s all there will ever be until the populace demands a new party with new standards of truth instead of endless desire for power. We need term limits to keep career politicians out and we need to get rid of corporate money in politics even if it takes a new Constitutional Amendment. The current two parties will NEVER go for that as both want all the power all the time, but they are bad for the citizens they’re supposed to represent as they clearly only care about themselves, not their constituents.
I think our administration buying 500 million doses of Pfiser, knowing that it has a 39% effective rate against the delta variant in Isreal, then giving them to the world is disgusting! The administration may as well steal our tax dollars and just give it to Pfiser rather than foist an ineffective so called vaccine on the world’s poor! Again, disgusting immature administration.