Israeli scientists discovered that aspirin, a cheap and safe drug, reduces the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. And it also affects both the duration and severity of the disease, and even mortality.
Aspirin, a common medication often prescribed to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease and as a pain reliever and fever reducer, is known to help the human immune system fight certain viral infections. It was used extensively during the 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic, and scientists subsequently confirmed its activity against RNA viruses in vitro.
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Researchers from the Israeli medical organization Leumit Health Services, Bar Ilán University, and Barzilai Medical Center hypothesized that preventive administration of low-dose aspirin – about 75 milligrams a day – could reduce susceptibility to the coronavirus and alleviate the COVID-19 disease in case of infection.
The authors of the study, published in The FEBS Journal, analyzed the PCR test results of 10,477 people during the first wave of COVID-19 in Israel from February 1 to June 30, 2020. A separate group of people was formed generally healthy who took aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease.
It turned out that the use of aspirin reduced the probability of contracting the coronavirus by 29%, and the duration of illness in those who took aspirin was 2 to 3 days shorter. Among those hospitalized for coronavirus, the death rate was also lower in the group of people taking aspirin: 14% compared to 19% in the control group.
At the same time, the scientists note that “the potential beneficial effect of low-dose aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but looks very promising,” according to Professor Eli Magen from Barzilai Medical Center, lead author of the study.
The authors insist on the need for more studies with larger randomized clinical samples and the inclusion of patients from other hospitals and countries to verify the results obtained, and also warn of the danger of taking the drug without consulting the doctor first.