JERUSALEM, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and U.S. researchers have found that a cholesterol-lowering drug could be effective for COVID-19 treatment, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) in Israel reported on Tuesday.
In a study published in the journal Cell Press Sneak Peak, researchers from the HU and New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center have focused on the ways in which the COVID-19 changes patients' lungs in order to reproduce itself.
The main finding was that the virus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates, and as a result, large amounts of fat accumulate inside lung cells, a condition the virus needs in order to reproduce.
According to the team, this new understanding of the virus may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels are often at a high risk.
The researchers noted that viruses are parasites that can't replicate on their own, so they take control of human cells to accomplish that task.
By understanding how the virus controls our metabolism, "we can wrestle back control from the virus and deprive it from the very resources it needs to survive," they explained.
By screening FDA-approved medications that interfere with the virus' ability to reproduce, the team found that the cholesterol-lowering drug Fenofibrate (sold as Tricor) showed extremely promising results.
It was found that by allowing lung cells to burn more fat, Fenofibrate breaks the virus' grip on these cells, and prevents virus' ability to reproduce.
Thus, within only five days of treatment, the virus almost completely disappeared.
"This course of treatment could potentially downgrade the virus' severity into nothing worse than a common cold," the researchers concluded. Enditem