Inhaling This Could Reduce Your Severe COVID Risk 90 Percent, Study Finds

It's already been widely tested and approved to treat another common illness.

At the start of the COVID pandemic, doctors and scientists were on the hunt for successful treatments that could lessen the virus's toll. By this point, quite a few promising candidates have emerged, many of which are already on the market to treat other illnesses. Now, another potential COVID treatment joins the list in the form of a widely available and extensively tested inhaler, traditionally used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to a new study by NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), which has yet to be peer-reviewed, the drug budesonide was found to reduce the risk of severe illness by 90 percent. Read on to learn about this groundbreaking treatment for COVID, and for the latest vaccine news, check out Dr. Fauci Says You'll Easily Get a Vaccine Appointment After This Date.

Observing a total of 146 subjects, the researchers gave half of the group a budesonide inhaler for twice-daily doses of 800 micrograms, and the other half a placebo for a period of 28 days. Those who took the treatment were not only 90 percent less likely to require urgent care, they also reportedly benefited from shorter lengths of fever, and fewer long-term symptoms.

"I am encouraged to see the reduction in persistent symptoms at 14 and 28 days after treatment with budesonide," Mona Bafadhel, MD, a professor and respiratory consultant also working at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, shared on the University of Oxford website. "Persistent symptoms after the initial COVID-19 illness have emerged as a long-term problem. Any intervention which could address this would be a major step forward," she added.

The study was reportedly inspired by the observation that few chronic asthma patients were being admitted to the hospital during the early months of the pandemic. The findings may confirm that this trend was due to the use of corticosteroid inhalers preventing more serious respiratory effects. If confirmed, the discovery could save countless lives.

'The vaccine programs are really exciting, but we know that these will take some time to reach everyone across the world," said Bafadhel. "I am heartened that a relatively safe, widely available and well studied medicine such as an inhaled steroid could have an impact on the pressures we are experiencing during the pandemic."

Wondering how else you can slash your severe COVID risk? Read on for more ways to keep the virus in check, and for more on your potential risk level, check out If You Have This Common Habit, Your COVID Symptoms Will Be Worse.


pills spilling out of a container

Budesonide isn't the only drug already on the market that may fight COVID. According to a recent Canadian study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, an anti-inflammatory gout medication called colchicine could also significantly cut the rate of hospitalization and death from the novel coronavirus.

The researchers urge that beyond those benefits, colchicine is also cheap, orally administered, and has few known side effects. Additionally, the team reported that the treatment group presented with fewer cases of pneumonia, and demonstrated a reduced need for supplemental oxygen. And for more meds that could potentially help stave of severe cases, check out This Medication Could Slash Your Risk of Dying From COVID, Experts Say.



New research also reveals that those who take a daily dose of aspirin may experience better COVID outcomes than those who do not.

One October study in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia reviewed the medical records of more than 400 coronavirus patients who were hospitalized from March to July. Among those patients, the ones who took a daily low dose of aspirin were found to be 43 percent less likely to be transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU) and 44 percent less likely to be placed on a ventilator. Finally, those same patients were also 47 percent less likely to die from COVID than the hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin daily. And to avoid contracting the virus in the first place, find out Where You're Most Likely to Catch COVID Now, New Study Says.

Xlear Nasal Spray

Woman Using Nasal Spray For Her Cold

According to a December study that has yet to be peer-reviewed, a simple nasal spray may have a profound effect on the novel coronavirus. Through in vitro trials, researchers found that Xlear Sinus Care may help neutralize COVID-19: it was able to greatly reduce the amount of active COVID virus after just 25 minutes.

Ingredients of the spray include xylitol—a chemical compound often used as a sweetener—as well as .2 percent grapefruit seed extract (GSE) and .85 percent saline. "Combination therapy with GSE and xylitol may prevent spread of viral respiratory infections not just for SARS-CoV-2 but also for future H1N1 or other viral epidemics," the study authors wrote. "GSE significantly reduces the viral load while xylitol prevents the virus attachment to the core protein on the cell wall." And for more COVID news sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Blood thinners

Man holding pills, medication, or vitamins

Blood clots are a common occurrence with COVID, affecting approximately one-third of severe patients, according to a January meta-analysis published in the journal Medical Hypotheses. And that's why blood thinners may be the answer. In a Feb. 2021 study published in The BMJ, researchers examined data on 4,297 COVID patients from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs whose average age was 68. They found that COVID patients who were given blood thinners within 24 hours of being admitted to the hospital saw their risk of death reduced by 34 percent compared to individuals who were not given the medication.

While more research is needed, the study's authors say their findings "provide strong real world evidence to support guidelines recommending the use of prophylactic anticoagulation as initial treatment for patients with COVID-19 on hospital admission." And for more on what can reduce your COVID risk, check out These 3 Vitamins Could Save You From Severe COVID, Study Finds.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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