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Cholesterol drug could reduce COVID-19 infection by up to 70 per cent says study

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Posted: Saturday, August 7, 2021. 12:03 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: A drug used to treat cholesterol could reduce COVID-19 infections by 70% according to a study carried out by researchers in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Denmark.

The research that was published on Friday, August 6, in Frontiers in Pharmacology, was led by the University of Birmingham and Keele University in the UK and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy. The University of Copenhagen in Denmark and the University of Liverpool in the UK also collaborated with the research.

The research shows 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,” said a press release by the University of Birmingham.

Fenofibrate is an oral drug that is used to treat high levels of cholesterol and lipids (fatty substances) in the blood. It’s a drug that has been 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).

The researchers are now calling for clinical trials to test the drug in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. At present two clinical trials are being carried out on COVID-19 patients in research being led by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the US and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

The researchers said that apart from fenofibrate reducing infection by up to 70%, unpublished data indicate that fenofibrate is equally effective against the newer COVID-19 variants, including the alpha and beta variants. Research is also testing its efficacy in the delta variant.

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