Scientists have suggested that a cholesterol-lowering drug could make the coronavirus as treatable as the common cold. Researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center have sought to deprive the virus of the nutrients Covid-19 needs to survive.
They found that the fat that builds up inside lung cells is a key part of what the virus needs to reproduce.
Depriving the virus of these conditions could mean that it could be better controlled, with researchers saying it could be reduced to something that looks like an ordinary cold.
“By understanding how SARS-CoV-2 controls our metabolism, we can fight the virus and deprive it of the resources it needs to survive,” said Professor Yaakov Nahmias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He continued, “With the second wave of infections in countries around the world, these results couldn’t come at a better time.
“If our results are confirmed by clinical studies, this treatment could potentially reduce the severity of Covid-19 to nothing worse than a cold.” “
During the study, which was previewed by Cell Press – a publisher of biomedical journals, including Cell and Neuron – scientists examined drugs that could interfere with the ability of the virus to reproduce.
They found that a cholesterol-lowering drug, fenofibrate, gave promising results that allowed the lung cells to burn more fat and thus deprive the coronavirus of the conditions it needed to survive.
After five days of treatment with the drug, the researchers said the virus was almost completely gone in laboratory studies.
Another study published by Cambridge University Press this week found that three in four coronavirus deaths in China had at least one underlying health problem.
More than 40% of them had high blood pressure and more than a quarter suffered from heart disease – conditions linked to high cholesterol.
Researchers at the University of Jerusalem hope that with clinical trials a cholesterol treatment for the virus could become viable to help fight Covid-19.
With an effective vaccine that often takes years to develop and with no guarantee that it will be completely effective, therapeutic treatments are currently being explored to combat the virus.