Korea Pharma's corporate logo (Korea Pharma)
South Korean pharmaceutical firm Korea Pharma said Wednesday that the company’s hyperlipidemia drug could potentially be effective against the COVID-19 virus, citing a study result published in international journal Frontiers in Pharmacology.
According to the study conducted by Keele University and other institutions, fenofibrate and fenofibric acid, the active metabolite of fenofibrate, reduced the viral infection by up to 70 percent. Fenofibric acid is one of the core ingredients of Korea Pharma’s hyperlipidemia drug Fenocholine.
The study was conducted at two independent laboratories, where researchers measured infection of cultured vero cells -- cells derived from the kidney of African green monkey -- by using two different coronavirus isolates.
According to the study, fenofibric acid destabilized the receptor-binding domain of the coronavirus’ spike protein and prevented its binding to ACE2 through which it enters the host cells.
The study also noted preliminary data which indicates that fenofibrate is equally effective against the COVID-19 variants.
“This study identifies fenofibrate as a potential therapeutic agent requiring an urgent clinical evaluation to treat SARS-CoV-2 infection,” the study said.
Korea Pharma expressed hopes that the company’s self-developed hyperlipidemia drug Fenocholine could become an alternative to the COVID-19 vaccines, for people with high-risk medical conditions, as well as those living in countries that have limited access to the vaccines.
If found safe and effective, hyperlipidemia drugs, including Fenocholine, could also help ease global vaccine supply shortage, the firm said.
By Shim Woo-hyun (email@example.com