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Israeli Scientists Identify Drug They Hope Can Downgrade COVID-19 to Common Cold Level

07-27-2020
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 Hebrew University Professor Yaakov Nahmias. Credit: Daniel Hanoch
Hebrew University Professor Yaakov Nahmias. Credit: Daniel Hanoch

JERUSALEM, Israel - Could a simple drug that's been on the market for decades successfully treat COVID-19? An Israeli research team believes so because of a significant breakthrough in understanding how the coronavirus reproduces in the lungs. 

Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, director of Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and his research team have discovered how a drug on the market since 1975 could combat the pandemic. 

“Viruses are parasites. They can’t replicate on their own. They’re essentially a box of protein with a single strand of genetic material inside,” he told CBN News. “In order to make more viruses you have to get inside human cells.”

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After three months of intense research, Nahmias, who is working together with Dr. Benjamin TenOever at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, saw how the virus prevents the routine burning of carbohydrates in the lungs causing fat to accumulate.

“We’ve found together with Mt. Sinai hospital in New York is the fact that once it gets into the cells it starts making the cells make new fat,” he explained.

 That was the key.

“Once we found that out we could start screening drugs that may potentially block the virus…not by targeting the virus itself but by going after fat accumulation,” said Nahmias. “So the virus needs this fat to grow and make new viruses but a drug like Fenofibrate can help the cells burn this fat and then suddenly virus production stops.”

 Nahmias hopes clinical trials will begin soon.

“If everything pans out and the clinical studies validate our results it looks good,” he shared. “Everybody’s crossing their fingers. And we hope that before the next flu season we’ll be able to bring this drug to market.”

These researchers say they hope to downgrade the threat of COVID-19 to that of the common cold. 

This story was first published on July 16, 2020. We encourage readers who wish to comment on our material to do so through our FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Instagram accounts. God bless you and keep you in His truth.

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