SCIENTISTS have developed a new weight loss drug that mimics the effect of exercise on burning fat.
The drug, called SLU-PP-332, helped mice lose about 12 percent of their body weight within a month, US researchers found.
It convinces the body’s muscles that they are exercising more than they actually are.
Professor Thomas Burris from the University of Florida said: “This connection essentially instructs skeletal muscle to make the same changes that you see during endurance training.”
“When you treat mice with the drug, you can see that their entire body metabolism switches to using fatty acids, which is very similar to what humans use when fasting or exercising.
“And the animals start to lose weight.”
Around 38 percent of adults in England are overweight and a further 26 percent are obese.
The NHS says obesity costs £6.1 billion a year, but the total cost of all associated conditions is likely to be much higher.
SLU-PP-332 works differently than the other drugs like semaglutide – also known as Wegovy and Ozempic – and tirzepatide because it tricks the body into thinking it is moving more.
While these vaccinations make you feel fuller for longer, SLU-PP-332 works directly on your metabolism.
A trial published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeuticsexamined the effect of the drug on obese mice.
One group was given the drug twice daily for a month, while the other received a placebo.
Both groups continued to eat the same amount of food and stopped exercising.
The mice that took the drug used “more energy just living,” resulting in weight loss, Professor Burris said.
They were also able to run around 45 percent further than before.
Researchers said the biggest hope for the drug is that, unlike Wegovy and tirzepatide, it would allow patients to maintain muscle mass while losing weight.
Professor Burris said: “This could help people stay healthier as they age.”
Researchers hope to refine the drug so that it can be taken as a pill before moving on to human trials.