Israeli scientists have shown how Covid-19 causes fat to accumulate in lungs and suggested that cholesterol-lowering drugs may help fight the virus’s effects.
A joint team from Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) and New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Centre studied how the coronavirus affects lungs and their findings raise the prospect that a simple, readily available drug may help.
HU’s Prof Yaakov Nahmias said this week that early research looked promising, with the report due to appear in Cell Press’ Sneak Peak.
Viruses are parasites, meaning that they lack the ability to replicate on their own, so they take control of cells to help it do so. The coronavirus causes fat to gather in a patient’s lungs, which it needs in order to reproduce itself, and the team say it does this by preventing the routine burning of carbohydrates.
Researchers think this may help explain why patients with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels can be at greater risk of developing Covid-19.
“By understanding how the virus controls our metabolism, we can wrestle back control from the virus and deprive it from the very resources it needs to survive,” Nahmias said.