Covid-19 infections could be reduced by as much as 70% by the use of a drug that has been approved by most countries in the world, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), according to a new study.
The study conducted in the laboratory by an international collaboration of researchers said that results showed a 70% reduced chance of infection by SARS-CoV-2 could be possible by a licensed drug generally used for the treatment of ailments like high levels of cholesterol and lipids in human blood.
The research team led by the University of Birmingham and Keele University in the U.K. and the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy said that the use of fenofibrate and its active form, fenofibric acid, has the ability to significantly reduce SARS-COV-2 infection in human cells.
Experts say they used concentrations of the drug at levels that are safe and achievable and can be achieved using the standard clinical dose of fenofibrate, which was able to reduce infection.
The research team now wants clinical trials to be conducted on hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Currently, there are two clinical trials being carried out with such patients in research being led by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in the US and Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel.
“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,” said corresponding author Dr. Farhat Khanim, of the University of Birmingham in the U.K.