Aspirin painkillers are to be evaluated as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in one of Britain’s biggest trials, which will review whether it might reduce the risk of blood clots in people with the disease.
The scientists behind the RECOVERY trial, which is looking into a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, said it would include the drug, which is commonly used as a blood thinner.
Peter Horby, co-chief investigator of the trial said, “There is a clear rationale for believing that it (aspirin) might be beneficial, and it is safe, inexpensive and widely available.”
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Infected patients with the coronavirus are at a higher risk of blood clots because of hyper-reactive platelets, which are the cell fragments that help stop bleeding.
The RECOVERY trial’s website said on Friday, Aspirins are antiplatelet agent that can help in reducing the risk of clots.
At least 150mg of aspirin daily with the usual regimen is expected to be provided to the about 2,000 patients. From these patients the data will be compared with at 2,000 other patients who receive the standard COVID-19 treatment on its own, the website showed.
It increases the risk of internal bleeding as a blood thinner, and is taking too much over a long period of time that has been associated with kidney damage. Small daily doses of aspirin have been found to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
In the RECOVERY trial other treatments are also being tested including common antibiotic azithromycin and Regeneron’s REGN.O antibody cocktail that was used to treat U.S. President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 symptoms.
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Unlike Gilead’s remdesivir, which has been approved as a COVID-19 treatment in the United States but has shown poor results in a large World Health Organization trial, aspirin is a generic drug, making it much cheaper.
Dexamethasone, a steroid which is also cheap and widely available, could save lives of people severely ill with COVID-19, found in the RECOVERY trial.
It also showed that the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, once touted by Trump, was of no benefit in treating COVID-19 patients.