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Aspirin lowers risk of COVID-19, according to new findings from research group

The findings from a team at the George Washington University back up the findings of an Israeli team in March

Updated: October 14, 2021 - 7:32am

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Over-the-counter aspirin could protect the lungs of COVID-19 patients with severe cases and decrease the need for ventilation, according to new research from the George Washington University.

The school's research team looked at more than 400 COVID patients from across the U.S. who took aspirin unrelated to their virus diagnosis and found that the painkiller reduced the risk of being put on mechanical ventilation by 44%, ICU admission by 43% and in-hospital mortality by 47%. 

"As we learned about the connection between blood clots and COVID-19, we knew that aspirin – used to prevent stroke and heart attack – could be important for COVID-19 patients,"  said Dr. Jonathan Chow of the GW team. "Our research found an association between low-dose aspirin and decreased severity of COVID-19 and death."

Touting the low cost and overwhelming accessibility of aspirin, Chow said, "Finding this association is a huge win for those looking to reduce risk from some of the most devastating effects of COVID-19."

Low doses of aspirin are already a common treatment for patients with clotting issues or those in danger of having a stroke, which includes people who have had heart attacks or myocardial infarctions.

One major symptom of severe COVID cases has been small blood vessel clotting, which has caused tiny blockages in the pulmonary blood system, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome. 

In March, Israeli researchers at the Barzilai Medical Center reached a similar conclusion during a preliminary trial. That group found that in addition to lessening the effect of blood clots in coronavirus patients, aspirin carried immunological benefits and found that the group taking it was 29% less likely to become infected with COVID in the first place. 

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