Aspirin is particularly attractive because it is one of the most widely available over-the-counter drugs. Its cost, at just cents per dose, is minuscule compared with other commonly used anti-Covid drugs such as remdesivir, which can run thousands of dollars for a typical treatment course.
Aspirin can help prevent blood clots, which is why people who have had a heart attack are often advised to take a baby aspirin every day.
“The reason why we started looking at aspirin and Covid is because in the spring we all realized that all these patients started to have a lot of thrombotic complications, or a lot of blood clots that have formed throughout their bodies,” Dr. Jonathan Chow, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, told CNN.
“That is why we thought that using an antiplatelet agent, or a blood thinner, like aspirin, might be helpful in Covid-19,” Chow said.
The team looked at the records of 412 patients admitted to several US hospitals between March and July 2020. About 24% of the patients received aspirin within 24 hours of hospital admission, or in the seven days before hospital admission. But most, 76%, did not receive the drug. Aspirin use was associated with a 44% reduction in mechanical ventilation, a 43% reduction in ICU admission, and a 47% reduction for in-hospital mortality, the researchers found.
Chow cautioned that one limitation of his team’s new study was that it looked at medical records and did not randomly assign patients to take either aspirin or a placebo.