JUL 11, 2024 6:00 AM PDT

Low-dose Aspirin Effective for Influenza During Pregnancy

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Low-dose aspirin may treat flu-induced blood vessel inflammation during pregnancy, thereby improving blood flow to the placenta. The corresponding study was published in Frontiers in Immunology

"This study shines a light, for the first time, on the role of vascular inflammation associated with influenza virus and the potential dramatic effect of the disease-modifying drug aspirin, in low dosage, in pregnant women with co-morbid influenza," said study author, Professor John O'Leary from the School of Medicine at Trinity College Dublin in a press release.

Infection with Influenza A virus during pregnancy can resemble preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that leads to inflammation of the aorta and blood vessels, which can negatively affect a developing fetus. Low-dose aspirin reduces inflammation and is thus commonly taken to prevent the condition.

NCX4016 is a novel nitric oxide-releasing derivative of aspirin that was synthesized to overcome gastrointestinal issues linked to aspirin. Although low doses of NCX4016 have been found to be as effective as high-dose aspirin for treating hypercholesteremia in mice, no studies as of yet have investigated the drug during pregnancy, and its efficacy for influenza infection.

"We used to think the flu virus just stayed in the lungs, but during pregnancy it escapes from the lungs to the rest of the body. This infection could set you up for cardiovascular disease later in life, but also set up cardiovascular disease in the offspring later in life," said study author, Professor Stavros Selemidis from the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, in a press release.

In the current study, researchers investigated the effects of low-dose aspirin and NCX4016 on pregnant mice with influenza A. Daily treatment with either drug resulted in less inflammation and improved fetal development and offspring survival compared to untreated controls.

"Low-dose aspirin is safe to use during pregnancy for preeclampsia, and this study demonstrates that [the drug] may prove a promising treatment for averting the significant vascular complications associated with influenza infection during pregnancy," wrote the researchers.


Sources: Science Daily, Frontiers in Immunology

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets.
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