One of Britain’s most extensive studies investigatingpossible medications for coronavirus has found that using Aspirin does not increase the chances of survival in severely ill COVID patients.
The medication, which is both a painkiller and a blood thinner, has been used in the past to reduce blood clots in several other diseases, leading researchers to believe it may have the same effect when it comes to COVID. But, after evaluating nearly 15,000 coronavirus patients, researchers found Aspirin to be of no real help. Peter Horby, the co-chief investigator of the trial, revealed:
Although aspirin was associated with a small increase in the likelihood of being discharged alive, this does not seem to be sufficient to justify its widespread use for patients hospitalised with COVID-19.
Researchers were disappointed with the results
To conduct the study, researchers selected around half the patients at random and prescribed them 150mg of Aspirin per day for 28 days, while the remaining participants were treated as the control group. Results showed that the medication did not improve mortality rates, but those who received the Aspirin were found to have been released from the hospital one day earlier compared to those who went Aspirin-free.
Researchers also revealed that for every 1000 patients that received the Aspirin treatment, six more developed a major bleeding event, while six fewer experienced clotting.
Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Oxford and one of the study’s lead authors, said in a statement: ‘There has been a strong suggestion that blood clotting may be responsible for deteriorating lung function and death in patients with severe COVID.’
Aspirin is inexpensive and widely used in other diseases to reduce the risk of blood clots so it is disappointing that it did not have a major impact for these patients.
Aspirin wasn’t the only medication under investigation
The trial, named RECOVERY, wasn’t only investigating Aspirin as a potential coronavirus treatment. Researchers are also looked into the effects of an antibiotic known as azithromycin, the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, an anti-inflammatory known as tocilizumab, and the widely available steroid, dexamethasone.
Unfortunately, results showed no real improvement for patients on azithromycin or hydroxychloroquine. However, tocilizumab was found to significantly reduce deaths. The study was also the first to prove that dexamethasone could save the lives of those with severe COVID infections.
Results from RECOVERY have been sent in for peer review and publication at a medical journal and are also due to be published online at the portal medRxiv.