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Covid-19: A daily tablet of ASPIRIN can reduce infection risk by up to 29%, study finds

Taking aspirin pills may help protect against coronavirus infection, a study suggests. 

The common, cheap and safe drug is often prescribed to prevent heart disease and stroke as well as a regular over-the-counter painkiller. 

Data from more than 10,000 people who were tested for Covid between February and June 2020 revealed one aspirin tablet (75mg) a day led to a 29 per cent lower risk of catching the virus. 

It remains unknown exactly how aspirin may prevent coronavirus infection but the authors believe its antiviral properties come from an ability to change how the immune system responds to the pathogen.

 

Aspirin is a common, cheap and safe drug which is often prescribed to prevent heart disease and stroke as well as a regular over-the-counter painkiller. It may also help protect against coronavirus infection 

WHAT IS ASPIRIN? 

Aspirin is an everyday painkiller for aches and pains such as headache, toothache and period pain.

 It can also be used to treat colds and “flu-like” symptoms, and to bring down a high temperature. It is also known as acetylsalicylic acid.

Aspirin is also available combined with other ingredients in some cold and flu remedies.

You can buy most types of aspirin from pharmacies, shops and supermarkets. Some types are only available on prescription.

It comes as tablets or suppositories – medicine that you push gently into your anus. It also comes as a gel for mouth ulcers and cold sores.

If you’ve had a stroke or heart attack or are at high risk of a heart attack, your doctor may recommend that you take a daily low-dose aspirin. This is different to taking aspirin for pain relief. 

Only take low-dose aspirin if your doctor recommends it.  

Source: NHS 

Findings from the study, conducted by Israeli researchers at Leumit Health Services, Bar-Ilan University and Barzilai Medical Center, were published last month in The FEBS Journal.

‘This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low doses of aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but seems very promising,’ says study leader Professor Eli Magen from the Barzilai Medical Center. 

Data of patients from a database was analysed and the proportion of people on aspirin was lower among people with COVID-19 than those who tested negative.

Seventy-three people who tested positive were taking aspirin, accounting for one in nine of all positive cases. 

However, 16 per cent of people (roughly one in six) who tested negative were taking aspirin. 

The reduction in risk from one to the other is more than a quarter (29 per cent).

On average, the people taking aspirin were 14 years older; were overweight but not obese, unlike the non-aspirin group; and more likely to have diabetes, high blood pressure and COPD. 

The researchers also found that while people on aspirin are less likely to catch coronavirus, they also recover quicker if they do contract the virus. 

The average time between a patient’s first positive test and their second negative test drops from 21.9 days to 19.8 days when they use aspirin daily. 

‘A large, nation-wide study revealed that the use of aspirin is associated with a decreased likelihood of a positive COVID-19 test result,’ the researchers write. 

It remains unknown exactly how aspirin may prevent coronavirus infection but the authors believe its antiviral properties come from an ability to change how the immune system responds to the pathogen.

When the body detects a viral infection it produces interferon I (IFN) which controls the cellular response to the invader.

However, RNA viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, escape recognition by evading IFN. 

The virus does this by forcing the body to make more of a chemical called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) which inhibits IFN as well as causing the destruction of some white blood cells. 

‘As low-dose aspirin inhibits PGE2 biosynthesis, this mechanism might enhance anti-viral immunity via induction of type I IFN,’ the researchers write.    

They add that their findings are ‘preliminary, yet intriguing’ and call for further research into its potential. 

Taking aspirin every other day slashes the risk of dying from breast cancer by a quarter, a new study claims

Taking aspirin every other day slashes the risk of dying from breast cancer by a quarter, a new study claims

One study already doing exactly this is the RECOVERY trial, a world-leading project headed up by the University of Oxford.

It is the largest and most comprehensive study investigating which drugs are beneficial to hospitalised Covid-19 patients in the world. 

It revealed the steroid dexamethasone and the arthritis drugs tocilizumab and sarilumab are effective at helping treat Covid-19. 

Dexamethasone is a £5 drug which reduces risk of dying by up to 35 per cent on its own. 

However, further research found people who only received dexamethasone still had a death rate of 35.8 per cent but this dropped to just 25.3 per cent when they were also given a single dose of either tocilizumab or sarilumab which costs around £1,000 per treatment.

All three are now approved for use on the NHS. 

Other drugs and treatments have been investigated and subsequently dismissed by RECOVERY, including anti-gout drug colchicine and the arthritis drug azithromycin.

The only drugs currently under investigation by RECOVERY are: Regeneron’s antibody cocktail; aspirin; arthritis drug Baricitinib; and Dimethyl fumarate, an immunomodulatory drug used in psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.

Trials are ongoing at almost 200 sites worldwide, including almost 40,00 participants. Results of the aspirin arm are not expected for several of weeks. 

LONG COVID: WHAT IS IT AND COULD IT BE FOUR DIFFERENT SYNDROMES?

Covid-19 is described as a short-term illness caused by infection with the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Public health officials tend to say people will recover within two weeks or so. 

However it’s become increasingly clear that this is not the case for everyone, and that the two-week period is only the ‘acute illness’ phase.

The North Bristol NHS Trust’s Discover project, which is studying the longer-term effects of coronavirus, found that out of a total of 110 patients given a three-month check up, most (74 per cent) had at least one persistent symptom after twelve weeks. The most common were:

  • Excessive fatigue: 39%
  • Breathlessness: 39%
  • Insomnia: 24%  
  • Muscle pain: 23%
  • Chest pain: 13%
  • Cough: 12%
  • Loss of smell: 12%
  • Headache, fever, joint pain and diarrhoea: Each less than 10% 

Other long term symptoms that have been reported by Covid-19 survivors, both suspected and confirmed, anecdotally, include hearing problems, ‘brain fog’, memory loss, lack of concentration, mental health problems and hair loss.

The impact of Long Covid on people who had mild illness have not been studied in depth yet.  

Data from the King’s College London symptom tracking app shows that up to 500,000 people in the UK are currently suffering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.

In October, scientists claimed Long Covid could actually be split into four different syndromes.  

Academics at the National Institute for Health Research — headed up by Professor Chris Whitty — were asked to review the limited evidence on long Covid to help both patients and doctors understand the ‘phenomenon’. 

Their findings warned that even children can suffer and it can’t be assumed that people who are at lower risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19 are also at low risk of lasting side effects.

Doctors cautioned some mental health problems such as anxiety and depression in ‘long-haulers’, as they are known, could be down to lockdowns, as opposed to the virus itself. 

The experts also claimed that the symptoms could be grouped into four different groups: 

  • Post intensive care syndrome (PICS)
  • Post viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS) 
  • Permanent organ damage (POD)  
  • Long term Covid syndrome (LTCS) 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk