Human beings are not the same thing as monkey cells: no, don’t start taking fenofibrate

Audacy (a site for radio stations’ online presence) reports, “Cholesterol drug cuts COVID infection rate by 70%: study”.

Actually, no, that is not what’s reported.

70% reduction in infection would be incredible, so naturally I read the article. I even read the actual journal paper they refer to.

Bonus points for this being an actual, peer-reviewed, published paper in a real journal, Frontiers in Pharmacology Translational Pharmacology. It just does not say anything about infection in humans. It says that the virus failed to infect monkey cells in culture media by up to 70%.

This is a really interesting paper, and I look forward to future work. This could potentially be a useful treatment.

That does not justify the utterly false headline. Audacy reporter Stephanie Raymond apparently either did not read the paper or did not know what Vero cells are and did not bother to look it up. Certainly she did not interview any of the scientists involved. One wonders if she worked off a press release.

Note: in the subject line I said not to start taking fenofibrate. I of course mean, “Unless it’s prescribed by your doctor, for a valid reason.” I am not a medical doctor and I’m not giving medical advice. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t start any prescription med unless it is prescribed by a licensed practitioner.

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