A new Oxford University study has found that common asthma inhaler could reduce COVID-19 by 90 per cent in severe COVID-19 symptoms. According to the findings from the phase 2 randomised study published on the MedRxiv Pre-Print Server, the effect of the inhaler is “equivalent to the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.” The trial was conducted in Britain. The study was supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).
The study led by researchers at Oxford University and Queensland University Medical in Australia, found that a commonly used asthma treatment appears to reduce the need for hospitalisations as well as recovery time for COVID-19 patients if given within seven days of symptoms appearing. Researchers also said the effect of the inhaler “is equivalent to the efficacy seen following the use of COVID-19 vaccines and greater than that reported in any treatments used in hospitalised and severe COVID-19 patients.” The British and Australian researchers said the clinical trial using a cheap asthma inhaler to prevent COVID-19 patients developing severe symptoms has produced “incredible” results. According to the study, patients in the trial were given simple steroid inhalers when they presented at the hospital with symptoms of the disease.
The findings from 146 people – of whom half took 800 micrograms of the medication twice a day and a half were on usual care – suggest that inhaled budesonide reduced the relative risk of requiring urgent care or hospitalisation by 90 per cent in the 28-day study period. Participants allocated the budesonide inhaler also had a quicker resolution of fever, symptoms, and fewer persistent symptoms after 28 days. Professor Mona Bafadhel of the University’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, who led the trial, said: ‘There have been important breakthroughs in hospitalised COVID-19 patients, but equally important is treating early disease to prevent clinical deterioration and the need for urgent care and hospitalisation, especially to the billions of people worldwide who have limited access to hospital care.