Vaccinations may be slowing the spread of COVID-19, but the pandemic continues. Sarver Heart Center cardiologists are collaborating with a clinical research team led by University of Pennsylvania in the FERMIN clinical trial, studying a generic drug’s ability to reduce COVID-19 progression in patients.
Research suggests that SARS viruses like COVID-19 take hold in the body using metabolic, or energy dependent, mechanisms. By taking away sources of energy from the virus by interfering with this metabolic hijacking, patients might be less impacted by infections. Gene expression analyses conducted in human bronchial cells and lung tissue from patients with COVID-19 infections indicated a marked shift in cellular metabolism, with excessive intracellular lipid (cholesterol or fat) generation.
Fenofibrate is a widely available low-cost generic drug approved by the FDA and multiple regulatory agencies around the world to treat elevated lipids. In laboratory experiments, exposure of infected cells to fenofibrate led to rapid reduction in SARS-CoV-2 viral replication. The FERMIN research team is studying whether 10 days of fenofibrate treatment can achieve clinically, markedly inhibited SARS-CoV-2 viral replication and improve outcomes for COVID-19 patients. Patients are eligible to participate in this trial for the first two weeks after diagnosis with COVID-19 infection.
This is one example of the more than 20 clinical research studies underway in Sarver Heart Center’s Clinical Research Program. To learn more about clinical research at Sarver Heart Center, visit Sarver Heart Center Clinical Research