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Humble herring is bringing hope to millions by helping to heal hearts

by Heath Devine (2020-09-19)


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A new drug derived from a herring found in the South Pacific unblocks coronary arteries - bringing hope to millions of people with serious heart disease.

It is the first time a drug has been shown to turn back the physiological clock rather than slowing the furring of arteries.

Fresh data being presented at the European Society of Cardiology's virtual meeting this weekend reveals that the arteries of those given a twice-daily capsule of Vascepa - a type of highly purified omega-3 fatty acid - became progressively clearer over time.

A new drug derived from a herring found in the South Pacific unblocks coronary arteries - bringing hope to millions of people with serious heart disease (file photo)

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Dr Craig Granowitz, chief medical officer of the drug's manufacturer Amarin Corporation, said it was sourced from a species of herring fished off the coasts of Chile and Argentina. 

He said the same results could not be obtained from taking omega-3 food supplements.

Scans showed the volume of unstable plaque in two major coronary arteries of 80 volunteers on Vascepa fell by an average of 17 per cent over an 18-month period. 

Fresh data reveals that the arteries of those given a twice-daily capsule of Vascepa became progressively clearer over time (file photo)

In those given placebo pills, the volume more than doubled. 

Dr Granowitz said: ‘A cardiovascular event is a plumbing problem: a piece of junk gets stuck in your [arterial] pipe.

The key [to good cardiovascular health] is good flow.'

Vascepa was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration last December and is now awaiting approval from Euro-pean authorities.