Low-dose aspirin might help protect the lungs and keep COVID-19 patients out of ICUs. The inexpensive drug can also reduce the risk of death, said researchers at George Washington University, according to a study released Wednesday.
The new study joins ongoing research on the potential benefits of aspirin and COVID-19.
Recently, Israeli scientists found that patients who took small daily doses of aspirin were 29% less likely to test positive for COVID-19. They were also more apt to have a shorter illness and have fewer lingering side effects, according to The Times of Israel.
According to CNN, the team from George Washington said low-dose, or ''baby'' aspirin, is an ideal treatment for COVID-19 because it is much cheaper than other anti-COVID-19 drugs such as Remdesivir and is widely available.
The researchers theorize aspirin can save lives because it helps prevent blood clots in COVID-19 patients which is why doctors often prescribe a daily dose of the drug to patients who have suffered a heart attack.
Dr. Jonathan Chow, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told CNN he and his colleagues observed COVID-19 patients developed potentially deadly blood clots throughout their bodies.
"That is why we thought that using an antiplatelet agent, or a blood thinner, like aspirin, might be helpful in COVID-19," Chow said.
According to the study, the researchers analyzed the records of 412 patients admitted to several U.S. hospitals between March and July 2020. While most of the patients did not receive aspirin therapy, the patients who did clearly benefited, according to CNN. Aspirin use was associated with a 44% reduction in mechanical ventilation, a 43% reduction in ICU admission, and a 47% reduction for in-hospital mortality, the researchers found.
A recent study published in the journal PLOS One, studied more than 30,000 U.S. veterans with COVID-19 and found those already taking aspirin ''had a significantly decreased risk of mortality'' than the veterans who were not on the drug.
In the United Kingdom, researchers are currently conducting the RECOVERY Trial that is examining a wide range of potential treatments aimed at helping hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Aspirin is included in their research.
In the Israeli study, people who contracted COVID-19 and were taking low-dose aspirin were sick on the average of two to three days less than non-users.
''This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low-dose aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but seems very promising,'' said Professor Eli Magen, of Barzilai Medical Center, the lead author of the study.
Experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine warn, for some, taking daily aspirin can have negative side effects. It irritates your stomach lining and can cause gastrointestinal upset, ulcers, and bleeding. Since aspirin is a blood thinner, it can be dangerous for people who are at higher risk of bleeding. It is always wise to check with your healthcare practitioner before taking aspirin.
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