(Reuters) – The aspirin pain reliever will be evaluated as a possible treatment for COVID-19 in one of the UK’s largest trials, to evaluate whether it could reduce the risk of blood clots in sick people or not.
The scientists behind the RESTORE trial, which is looking at a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, say it will include drugs commonly used as blood thinners.
“There is a clear reason to believe it (aspirin) can be beneficial, and that it’s safe, inexpensive and widely available,” said Peter Horby, the trial’s co-investigator.
Patients infected with coronavirus are at higher risk of blood clots because of the super-reactive platelets, fragments of cells that help stop bleeding. The RECOVERY test website states that aspirin is an anti-platelet aggregation and may reduce the risk of blood clots.
At least 2,000 patients were randomly assigned to take 150 mg of aspirin per day along with the regular regimen. Data from these patients will be compared with at least 2,000 other patients treated with its own standard COVID-19, the website says.
Small daily doses of aspirin have been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers. Because of the thinning of the blood, it increases the risk of internal bleeding and long-term drinking is associated with kidney damage.
Other treatments being tested in the RESTORE test include the conventional antibiotic azithromycin and the Regeneron antibody cocktail used to treat US President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 symptoms.
Unlike Gilead’s remdesivir, which has been approved as a COVID-19 treatment in the United States but failed in a large World Health Organization trial, aspirin is a generic drug so it is cheap much more.
The RECOVERY test is the first to show that dexamethasone, a cheap and popular steroid, can save the lives of seriously ill people with COVID-19.
It also showed that the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, once touted by Trump, was not of any benefit in the treatment of patients with COVID-19.
Report by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Alistair Smout in London; Additional reporting by Kate Kelland in London and John Miller in Zurich; Edited by Shinjini Ganguli and Alison Williams