Cholesterol-lowering drug Tricor being tested by researchers at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia to help fight COVID-19
Two different laboratory studies found that the drug Fenofibrate reduced COVID-19 infection by up to 70%. Doctors say if it works in real patients, it could have a major impact in helping slow the spread of the virus and saving lives.
Cardiologist Dr Julio Chirinos is leading the trial at Penn Medicine, testing to see if the drug commonly known as Tricor can help patients with COVID-19. Laboratory studies show that it blocks the ability of the virus to bind to cells and replicate, which means it could prevent an infection from worsening and spreading.
Chirinos says the research is promising, but still very early.
“If it’s very effective, it could have a major impact. We certainly hope so, but we don’t have that information yet,” he said.
This would have a major impact because the drug is easy to take. It is a cheap and widely available oral medication used to help lower cholesterol and fatty acids in the blood.
Chirinos says efforts to get more people vaccinated must continue, but we also need more treatment if unvaccinated people are infected or for breakthrough cases. He says we also need a backup plan.
“We should also have a plan in case some strains of the virus become resistant to the vaccine, it is possible that this will happen in the future,” he said.
As to whether you’re already taking this drug, Chirinos says not to assume that it will protect you – this has yet to be proven. Patients should continue to take the drug as prescribed and take precautions.
“Standard protective measures and vaccinations should be adopted and implemented even if you are taking this drug,” he said.
He hopes to have the results of the trial in several months, but first, they are trying to enroll around 700 people at multiple sites around the world. The trial is for adults 18 years of age and older, within two weeks of symptoms and a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
For more information or to find out if you can register, visit: Penn Medicine Clinical Trial of Fenofibrate Therapy in COVID-19 Patients
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