FEB 25, 2021 8:00 AM PST

Asthma Inhalers Slash Risk of COVID Hospitalization by 90 Percent

WRITTEN BY: Tara Fernandez

For mild cases of COVID, doctors recommend the usual regimen for getting through a cold or flu: Staying hydrated and resting at home. For those experiencing severe COVID symptoms, receiving a hospital-administered dose of an approved therapy such as monoclonal antibodies is the best option.

But what if an over-the-counter drug could help reduce the need for hospitalization altogether? An international team of researchers has conducted a trial demonstrating that inhalers used to treat asthma can help patients avoid urgent care.

As part of the STOIC (STerOids In COVID-19) study, researchers tested the potential of a corticosteroid called budesonide as a means of providing relief for COVID patients. Nearly 150 patients enrolled in the trial, half of whom received the asthma inhaler twice a day within seven days of the onset of symptoms. The other half received current standards of treatment.

Those that inhaled budesonide experienced accelerated recovery times. More importantly, the treatment reduced the relative risk of ending up in the emergency room by 90 percent over the course of the month-long study.

The data from the trial have been published on the medRxiv pre-print server.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that causes shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. Many asthma patients have their inhalers close at hand for quick relief when symptoms begin to creep up. The steroids in the inhalers work by quickly relaxing the airway muscles so that they can breathe easily again.

The potential of deploying inhaled corticosteroids as a COVID countermeasure could have a tremendous impact on communities everywhere, particularly those with limited access to healthcare facilities.

“The possibility of reducing the long-term effects from persistent COVID-19 symptoms is also exciting. This cheap and widely available intervention can be rolled out very quickly across the world while we wait for vaccines to get to everyone,” said Sanjay Ramakrishnan, one of the authors of the study.

 

 

Sources: QUT, medRxiv


 

About the Author
  • Tara Fernandez has a PhD in Cell Biology and has spent over a decade uncovering the molecular basis of diseases ranging from skin cancer to obesity and diabetes. She currently works on developing and marketing disruptive new technologies in the biotechnology industry. Her areas of interest include innovation in molecular diagnostics, cell therapies, and immunology. She actively participates in various science communication and public engagement initiatives to promote STEM in the community.
You May Also Like
DEC 03, 2020
Immunology
Cytokine Storms Aren't to Blame for COVID Respiratory Failures
DEC 03, 2020
Cytokine Storms Aren't to Blame for COVID Respiratory Failures
Many of the life-threatening symptoms of COVID-19 have been pinned on “cytokine storms” — immune syste ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
Yes, You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine.
DEC 15, 2020
Yes, You Should Get Your Flu Vaccine.
A recent study published in Science Translational Medicine has provided fresh insights on how our immune systems protect ...
DEC 13, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
The Immune Response to Infection and Vaccination Depends on Previous Infections
DEC 13, 2020
The Immune Response to Infection and Vaccination Depends on Previous Infections
After we are exposed to a pathogen or in the case of vaccines, a portion of a pathogen, our body mounts an immune respon ...
DEC 25, 2020
Immunology
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
DEC 25, 2020
A High-Fat Diet Starves Immune Cells, Tumor Growth Goes Unchecked
  Sitting down to enjoy an indulgent Christmas feast? A recent study in mice by Harvard Medicine scientists found t ...
DEC 28, 2020
Immunology
Inhaling a Puff of Llama Antibodies to Relieve COVID
DEC 28, 2020
Inhaling a Puff of Llama Antibodies to Relieve COVID
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified new antibody-based weapons in the fight against COVID-19 ...
JAN 13, 2021
Immunology
Antibodies Gain the Upper Hand Against Sly Tumors
JAN 13, 2021
Antibodies Gain the Upper Hand Against Sly Tumors
Tumors use ingenious approaches to stay just out of reach of immune cells on patrol and avoid detection. Indeed, cancer ...
Loading Comments...