Aspirin being tested as possible treatment for Covid-19

Investigation taking place in 176 hospital sites across the UK, and has so far recruited over 16,000 patients


AspirinThe humble Aspirin is all set to take on the mighty Covid-19. For, the commonly used medicine is being investigated in the world’s largest clinical trial of treatments for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.

The Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY) trial is happening in 176 hospital sites across the UK, and has so far recruited over 16,000 patients.

Covid-19 patients are at higher risk of blood clots forming in their blood vessels. Small cell fragments, platelets in the blood that stop bleeding, seem to be hyperreactive in Covid-19 and may be involved in the clotting complications. Since Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent, it is likely to reduce the risk of blood clots in patients with Covid-19.

According to Professor Peter Horby, from the Nuffield Department of Medicine, co-Chief Investigator of the RECOVERY trial, “We felt it was particularly important to add aspirin to the trial since there is a clear rationale for believing that it might be beneficial and it is safe, inexpensive and widely available. We are looking for medicines for Covid-19 that can be used immediately by anyone, anywhere in the world. We do not know if aspirin is such a medicine but we will find out.”

It is expected that at least 2,000 patients will be randomly allocated to receive aspirin 150 mg daily plus usual standard-of-care, and results will be compared with at least 2,000 patients who receive standard-of-care on its own.

Patients will not be allocated to receive Aspirin if they have a known hypersensitivity to Aspirin; if they have experienced recent major bleeding or if they already take aspirin or other antiplatelet agents.

Main outcome

RECOVERY’s main outcome is to assess is mortality after 28 days. Other outcomes include the impact on hospital stay and the need for ventilation. It is likely to be several months before there is enough evidence to conclude whether aspirin has a significant benefit in COVID-19 patients.

“Aspirin is widely used to prevent blood clots in many other conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women. But enrolling patients in a randomised trial such as RECOVERY is the only way to assess whether there are clear benefits for patients with COVID-19 and whether those benefits outweigh any potential side effects such as the risk of bleeding,” said Professor Martin Landray from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-leads the RECOVERY trial.

The RECOVERY Trial is conducted by the registered clinical trials units with the Nuffield Department of Population Health in partnership with the Nuffield Department of Medicine.

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It is supported by a grant to the University of Oxford from  UK Research and Innovation/National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and by core funding provided by  NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Wellcome, the  Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,  the  Department for International Development, Health Data Research UK, the  Medical Research Council Population Health Research Unit, and  NIHR Clinical Trials Unit Support Funding.

(With inputs from The OnLook News Research Bureau)

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