You may have seen quite a bit about risk factors that make a COVID-19 infection more likely or more dangerous. People with kidney disease, heart problems, COPD, an organ transplant or diabetes could become extremely ill if they contract it. But what about protective factors? Could using aspirin help protect people from catching COVID?
Evidence from Israel Stars Aspirin:
A new study from Israel suggests that aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) may provide some protection against COVID-19 infections (FEBS Journal, Feb. 23, 2021). Researchers reviewed data from more than 10,000 individuals tested for the coronavirus. They compared people who were taking 75 mg of aspirin daily for cardiovascular protection with others who were not prescribed aspirin.
The aspirin users were 29 percent less likely to have a positive COVID-19 test. In addition, if they did contract the infection, they seemed to recover two to three days faster. This is especially notable because those on the medication were older, on average. They were also more likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Notably, these are all risk factors for COVID.
More Evidence That Aspirin Helps Protect People from COVID Infection:
Most importantly, some of the individuals in this study were hospitalized with the infection. The researchers note that a higher proportion of survivors were on aspirin before they became infected. However, the numbers of hospitalized patients were fairly small. Consequently, the difference was not significant.
The lead author notes that
“This observation of the possible beneficial effect of low doses of aspirin on COVID-19 infection is preliminary but seems very promising.”