A team of researchers from the U.K. and Italy found that fenofibrate and fenofibric acid resulted in a significant reduction in coronavirus infection in human cells when the drug was used in safe and approved concentrations. “Our data indicates that fenofibrate may have the potential to reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms and also virus spread,” Dr. Elisa Vicenzi of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan and co-author, said in the release published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal, Friday. “Given that fenofibrate is an oral drug which is very cheap and available worldwide, together with its extensive history of clinical use and its good safety profile, our data has global implications,” she also said. Some studies are ongoing at the University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew University of Jerusalem. „Therapies are still urgently needed to manage COVID-19 patients who develop symptoms or require hospitalisation,” Dr Alan Richardson, of Keele University in the UK, completed.
The drug is working inhibiting the harmful overproduction of cytokines tied to coronavirus infection and also treating airway inflammation. Fenofibrate, patented in 1969, is a cholesterol drug mainly used for primary hypercholesterolemia or mixed dyslipidemia. It has common side effects which include liver problems, breathing problems, abdominal pain, muscle problems, and nausea. Serious side effects may include toxic epidermal necrolysis, rhabdomyolysis, gallstones and pancreatitis. The drug is contraindicated for patients with severe renal impairment, including those receiving dialysis, and for patients with active liver disease, including those with primary biliary cirrhosis.