Oral drug fenofibrate may reduce covid infection by 70%, new research shows

August 9, 2021 0 By FM

A study led by researchers from University of Birmingham showed that an oral drug, fenofibrate and its active form fenofibric acid used to treat abnormal levels of fatty substances in the blood could reduce infection caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus by up to 70 per cent.

The reduction of infection was obtained using concentrations of the drug which are safe and achievable using the standard clinical dose of fenofibrate, the researchers said.

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

The researchers noted that the drug, if cleared in clinical trials, may be useful in people for whom vaccines are not recommended or suitable such as children, those with hyper-immune disorders and those using immune-suppressants.

The researchers said two clinical trials of the drug are currently underway in hospitalised COVID-19 patients led by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the US and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.

A study, published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology, tested a panel of already licensed drugs – including fenofibrate – to identify candidates that disrupt ACE2 and spike interactions of the covid 19 virus.

The researchers tested the efficacy of fenofibrate in reducing infection in cells and found that fenofibrate reduced infection by up to 70 per cent. The team noted that additional unpublished data also indicates that fenofibrate is equally effective against the newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 including the Alpha and Beta variants. Research is also ongoing into the efficacy of the drug against the Delta variant, they said.