A small Israeli study suggests that patients who have been hospitalized due to Covid may be helped by a drug that lowers cholesterol levels.
It was noted by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem that Covid causes a big buildup of cholesterol, which results in inflammation in cells.
New Cholesterol Drug May Help Combat Covid
They found in lab experiments that a drug that lowers cholesterol, fenofibrate (TriCor) seemed to reduce damage to lung cells and prevented Covid from replicating.
The results of the lab were confirmed by 15 patients.
A reader in pharmacology at Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, Alan Richardson said that they have shown that fenofibrate can potentially lessen the likeliness of an individual getting hospitalized, reduce the amount of time they stay at a hospital, reduce their requirement for oxygen and possibly reduce the risk of dying.
After reviewing the findings, he said that he is optimistic, but since the number of patients is small, he remains cautious.
It appeared to him that the drug worked by affecting the changes in metabolism that occur when the Covid virus invades cells.
Richardson, in his own research, found that TriCor could potentially, in the first place, stop the virus from invading the cells.
It was emphasized strongly by him that people must not, at any cost, take TriCor as a way to prevent getting infected by the virus or as an alternative to the vaccine.
He said that he would strongly advise people to not do such a thing without consulting a doctor.
Researchers, in this new trial, gave TriCor to 15 patients that had been hospitalized with a severe case of Covid.
They all required Oxygen because they also had pneumonia.
TriCor was given to them for a period of 10 days.
Dr. Yaakov Nahmias, the lead of the study, said that the results were astounding.
Nahmias in a news release said that what dropped within 48 hours of treatment were progressive inflammation markers which are the identifiers of Covid that is deteriorative.
He added that out of 15 patients, 14 of them did not require oxygen support within a week of being administered TriCor. He also said that historical records show that a huge majority of people that were treated with the standard of care require respiratory support for a long period of time.
Nahmias is a biomedical engineer at Hebrew University. He is also a member of the faculty at Harvard University’s Center for Engineering in Medicine in Boston.
He made an analogy to silver bullets that are supposedly used to kill vampires and said that no such thing exists in the case of Covid but compared to other drugs that have been proposed to date, fenofibrate is much safer.
He added that the way it works makes it less likely to be effective only with specific variants of the virus.
According to the study, in less than a week, all 15 patients were able to leave, and they suffered from absolutely no side effects from the drug.
A few of them reported side effects of Covid around 4 weeks after the treatment.
Researchers have admitted that even though the research was promising, only trials on a larger scale can prove the effectiveness of the drug.
Phase 3 trials in South America and the United States are already underway.
At NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, A professor of medicine, Dr. Marc Siegel, reacted with an air of caution to the results.
He said that this definitely warrants further study.
He emphasized that it does not take the place of Covid vaccines in fighting the virus and stressed that nothing takes the vaccines’ place.