A commonly used asthma treatment appears to reduce the need for hospitalizations and recovery time for COVID-19 patients if given within seven days of symptoms appearing, researchers at the University of Oxford have found.
The 28-day study of 146 patients found the inhaled steroid, budesonide, reduced the risk of urgent care, emergency room visits or hospitalization by 90% when compared with usual care.
Patients treated at home with budesonide also had a quicker resolution of fever and fewer persistent symptoms.
In a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review, the researchers said they undertook the trial because they noticed that patients with chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, who are often prescribed inhaled steroids such as budesonide, were not needing to be hospitalized for COVID-19 as often as expected.
"I am heartened that a relatively safe, widely available and well studied medicine ... could have an impact on the pressures we are experiencing during the pandemic," said study leader Mona Bafadhel.