Off-Patent Liver Disease Drug (UDCA) Could Prevent COVID-19 Infection and Protect Against Future Variants, Nature Article Suggests

Cambridge scientists have identified an off-patent drug that can be repurposed to prevent COVID-19--and may be capable of protecting against future variants of the virus--in research involving a unique mix of ‘mini-organs,’ donor organs, animal studies, patients, and normal volunteers. The research, published on December 5, 2022 in Nature, showed that an existing drug used to treat a type of liver disease is able to ‘lock’ the doorway by which SARS-CoV-2 enters our cells, a receptor on the cell surface known as ACE2. Because this drug targets the host cells and not the virus, it should protect against future new variants of the virus as well as other coronaviruses that might emerge. If confirmed in larger clinical trials, this could provide a vital drug for protecting those individuals for whom vaccines are ineffective or inaccessible, as well as individuals at increased risk of infection. The Nature article is titled “FXR Inhibition May Protect from SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Reducing ACE2.”
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