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FABP4 as a Therapeutic Host Target Controlling SARS-CoV2 Infection


Host metabolic fitness is a critical determinant of infectious disease outcomes. In COVID-19, obesity and aging are major high-risk disease modifiers, although the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), a critical regulator of metabolic dysfunction in these conditions, regulates SARS-CoV2 pathogenesis. Our study revealed that elevated FABP4 levels in COVID-19 patients strongly correlate with disease severity. In adipocytes and airway epithelial cells we found that loss of FABP4 function by genetic or pharmacological means impaired SARS-CoV2 replication and disrupted the formation of viral replication organelles. Furthermore, treatment of infected hamsters with FABP4 inhibitors alleviated lung damage and fibrosis and reduced lung viral titers. These results highlight a novel host factor critical for SARS-CoV2 infection and the therapeutic potential of FABP4-targeting agents in treating COVID-19 patients.