July 28, 2021

Cholesterol-lowering drug could see coronavirus treated like common cold, study finds

A cholesterol-lowering drug could make coronavirus as treatable as the common cold, scientists have suggested. Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center looked at depriving the virus of nutrients which Covid-19 needs to survive. They found that fat which accumulates inside lung cells is a key component of what the virus needs to reproduce. Depriving the virus of these conditions could mean that the virus could be better controlled, with the researchers claiming it could be reduced to something akin to an ordinary cold. “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,” said Prof Yaakov Nahmias from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He continued: “With second-wave infections spiking in countries across the globe, these findings couldn’t come at a better time. “If our findings are borne out by clinical studies, this course of treatment could potentially downgrade Covid-19’s severity into nothing worse than a common cold.” During the study, which was previewed by the Cell Press – a publisher of biomedical journals, including Cell and Neuron – scientists screened medications that could interfere with the virus’s ability to reproduce. They found that one cholesterol-lowering drug, fenofibrate, showed promising results which allowed lung cells to burn more fat and therefore depriving the coronavirus of the conditions it needed to survive. After five days of treatment with the drug, the researchers said that the virus had almost completely disappeared in lab studies.

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