Israeli Study: Aspirin Helps Protect against Covid-19

Israeli Study: Aspirin Helps Protect against Covid-19

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Do not take aspirin without consulting your doctor – aspirin use, even in small doses, can have nasty and sometimes fatal side effects. But a recent Israeli study of 10,477 patient records suggests a 29% reduction in Covid-19 infection and fatalities amongst regular users of therapeutic aspirin.

Aspirin may protect against COVID-19, Israeli research finds

People who take small doses are 29% less likely than others to test positive, researchers say; those who do get COVID recover faster, and with reduced aftereffects

By NATHAN JEFFAY Today, 3:20 pm 

Aspirin, one of the oldest and most widely used drugs, is preventing COVID-19 infections, Israeli scientists have claimed in “exciting” findings.

In the peer-reviewed research, they found that in a sample of Israeli PCR tests, patients who take small doses of aspirin were 29 percent less likely to test positive. They cross-referenced 10,477 results with medical records covering what preventive drugs patients take.

“We were really excited to see a big reduction in the proportion of people testing positive, and this gives a promising indication that aspirin, such a well-known and inexpensive drug, may be helpful in fighting the pandemic,” Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern of Bar-Ilan University told The Times of Israel.

The aspirin study focused on people who take “baby” 75 milligram doses of the drug for primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, but don’t already have such diseases. Results were adjusted to account for age and co-morbidities.

“The fact we saw that it’s not just the likelihood of infection but also disease duration points to the possibility of benefits, in biological terms, of taking aspirin,” he said.

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

The use of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease is associated with a lower likelihood of COVID-19 infection

Eugene Merzon 1 2Ilan Green 1 2Shlomo Vinker 1 2Avivit Golan-Cohen 1 2Alessandro Gorohovski 3Eva Avramovich 1 3Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern 4Eli Magen 1 5

PMID: 33621437
DOI: 10.1111/febs.15784

Acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) is commonly used for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Aspirin use is associated with better outcomes among COVID-19 positive patients. We hypothesized that aspirin use for primary cardiovascular disease prevention might have a protective effect on COVID-19 susceptibility and disease duration. We conducted a retrospective population-based cross-sectional study, utilizing data from the Leumit Health Services database. The proportion of patients treated with aspirin was significantly lower among the COVID-19-positive group, as compared to the COVID-19-negative group (73 (11.03 %) vs. 1548 (15.77%); p=0.001). Aspirin use was associated with lower likelihood of COVID-19 infection, as compared to non-users (adjusted OR 0.71 (95% CI, 0.52 to 0.99; p=0.041). Aspirin users were older (68.06 ± 12.79 vs. 56.63 ± 12.28 years of age; p<0.001), presented a lower BMI (28.77±5.4 vs. 30.37±4.55; p<0.0189) and showed higher prevalence of hypertension (56, 76.71%), diabetes (47, 64.38%) and COPD (11, 15.07%) than showed the aspirin non-users (151, 25.64%, p<0.001; 130, 22.07%, p<0.001; and 43, 7.3%, p=0.023, respectively). Moreover, COVID-19 disease duration (considered as the time between the first positive and second negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test results) among aspirin users was significantly shorter, as compared to aspirin non-users (19.8±7.8 vs. 21.9± 7.9 p= 0.045). Among hospitalized COVID-positive patients, a higher proportion of surviving subjects were treated with aspirin (20, 19.05%), as opposed to 1 dead subject (14.29%), although this difference was not significant (p=0.449). In conclusion, we observed inverse association between the likelihood of COVID-19 infection, disease duration and mortality and aspirin use for primary prevention.

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The study appears to focus on the apparent correlation, they don’t appear to delve into the reason for the apparent therapeutic benefit.

One possible explanation, Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, which might be the reason for its apparent effectiveness.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen claims about the efficacy of an anti-inflammatory against Covid. Another powerful anti-inflammatory, Butesonide, was recently claimed by Oxford University and Queensland University to reduce severe Covid symptoms by 90% and dramatically improve survival.

The much maligned Hydroxychloroquine, once a widely used an anti-malarial, has a secondary use as a long term anti-inflammatory treatment for arthritis. My French friend told me hydroxychloroquine was a non-prescription over the counter medication in France, until President Macron banned it in early 2020, to stop people self medicating to treat their Covid symptoms.

I don’t know about you guys, but I think I’m starting to see a pattern. Surely this coincidence of independent claims that three unrelated powerful anti-inflammatory drugs are therapeutically effective against Covid-19 is worth someone in the medical community taking a closer look.

A note of caution – these are early days. It is possible that claims of Covid therapeutic benefit for any or all of the drugs I listed are wrong.

But it is also possible claims of Covid therapeutic benefit for all three drugs I mentioned are true. If the three listed anti-inflammatory medications help reduce Covid symptoms, because of their anti-inflammatory properties, these three anti-inflammatories could just the tip of the iceberg – there could be a whole range of anti-inflammatories which are useful for treating Covid. Perhaps somewhere out there is a cheap, generic anti-inflammatory which is even more effective than the claimed effectiveness of Butesonide, just sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting for some doctor to notice it.

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