Aspirin taken for cardiovascular diseases may reduce the likelihood of coronavirus infections, a new Israeli study released this week has found.
Aspirin is an established, safe and low-cost medication in long-standing common use in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, and in the past a pain relief and fever-reducing medication.
Studies showed that aspirin could modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses helping the human immune system battle some viral infections.
With this information in mind, Israeli researchers hypothesized that pre-infection treatment with low-dose aspirin (75 mg) use might have a potential beneficial effect on COVID-19 susceptibility and disease duration.
A joint team from Leumit Health Services, Bar-Ilan University and Barzilai Medical Center conducted an observational epidemiological study, utilizing data from Leumit Health Services.
The researchers analyzed data of 10,477 people who had tested positive for coronavirus during the first coronavirus wave in Israel from Feb. 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
Aspirin use to avoid the development of cardiovascular diseases in healthy individuals was associated with a 29% lower likelihood of COVID-19 infection, as compared to aspirin non-users.
The proportion of patients treated with aspirin was significantly lower among the coronavirus-positive individuals, as compared to the coronavirus-negative ones. Patients who had been treated with aspirin were less associated with the likelihood of coronavirus infection than those who were not.
Moreover, the group observed that the conversion time of SARS-CoV-2 PCR test results from positive to negative among aspirin-using coronavirus-positive patients was significantly shorter, and the disease duration was two to three days shorter, depending upon the patients’ pre-existing conditions.
“This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low doses of aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but seems very promising,” said Professor Eli Magen from the Barzilai Medical Center, who led the study.
Study principal investigator Dr. Eugene Merzon, from Leumit Health Services, emphasizes the importance of repeating the study results using larger samples, and including patients from other hospitals and countries, to verify the results.
Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, said that the study “sought to better understand the potential favorable effects of aspirin in aiding the human immune system battle coronavirus. We intend to investigate a larger cohort of patients and in randomized clinical trials.”