New study shows how coronavirus controls metabolism and which FDA-approved drug could stop it
New research by Hebrew University Prof. Ya’acov Nahmias and Sinai’s Dr. Benjamin tenOever revealed that the FDA-approved drug Fenofibrate (Tricor) could reduce SARS-CoV-2’s ability to reproduce or even make it disappear.
As such, Nahmias and tenOever spent the last three months studying what SARS-CoV-2 is doing to human lung cells. What they found is that the novel coronavirus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates, which results in large amounts of fat accumulating inside lung cells – a condition the virus needs to reproduce.
The team then reviewed a panel of eight already-approved drugs that could possibly interfere with the virus’s ability to reproduce. Tricor caused the cells to start burning fat, Nahmias said. The result was that the virus almost completely disappeared within only five days of treatment.
The experiment was done in lab studies both in Israel and New York and was replicated several times with different lung samples. Nahmias said there is a strong indication that the experiment is highly repeatable in other labs.
The team is advancing to animal studies in New York and hoping to fast-track clinical studies in both Israel and the US within the next couple of weeks, since the drug is already proven safe.
The study is being published in this week’s Cell Press’s Sneak Peak. The work is being funded by the European Research Council, the Nikoh Foundation and the Sam and Rina Frankel Foundation.