Preliminary results of a study conducted on animal models and published in the journal Cytokine and Growth Factors Review showed that the drug 4-Phenylbutiric acid (4-PBA) fully curbs mortality caused by respiratory failure derived from cellular stress, which is a risk factor in infection with Covid-19. “When cells are stressed by infection, they call the cytokines, and the more stressed they are, the more persistent they become, provoking this uncontrolled inflammation. Hence, one possible treatment for Covid-19 is to reduce cellular stress,” explained one of the lead researchers Ivan Duran, Professor at University of Malaga in Spain.
The study also identified the endoplasmic reticulum resident protein “BiP” (Binding Immunoglobulin Protein) – a stress blood marker — as indicator of cellular stress situations. According to the researcher, repurposing the 4-PBA anti-stress drug could modulate such cellular stress, which is also present in pathologies like diabetes, ageing or carcinogenesis, which, in turn, are classified as risk factors for Covid-19. The drug has already been approved for clinical use against other diseases. 4-PBA is currently used clinically to treat urea cycle disorders under the trade name Buphenyl.