Asthma inhalers ‘speed up Covid recovery by three days’ – raising hopes for end of lockdown

USING an asthma inhaler could speed up Covid-19 recovery by three days, experts have claimed.

The use of the prescription drugs has raised hopes that the extended lockdown could be ended sooner as the NHS would have another tool to manage a surge in hospitalisations and cases.

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The average stay for a patient admitted to hospital with coronavirus is eight days and the use of inhalers would be able to reduce this by three days.

At present in the UK there are 1,316 patients in hospital with the virus in the UK, with 226 being admitted on a daily basis, government data states.

Ministers last week told MPs that doctors have been prescribing inhalers to patients on a "case-by-case" basis, The Telegraph reported.

Lockdown restrictions were last week extended until July 19 and Health Secretary Matt Hancock also revealed that people catching the virus are spending 20 per cent less time in hospital beds.

This, he claims, is due to the increase in jabs being rolled out across the country and other hospital treatments.

MPs have now said that the government should be making more use of inhalers.

One senior figure in the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady said: "If the average length of stay in a hospital is now eight days, and you can reduce that by three days typically by using inhalers, why the hell haven't they done that?"


Health minister Jo Churchill said that clinical guidance had now been issued for inhaled budesonide.

She explained that the drug had been trialled on patients who had not been hospitalised with Covid and who were aged 65 and older.

It was also trialled on patients who were 50 years and older and who had underlying health conditions.

She did however state that it was not recommended as the standard of care in the UK.

Ms Churchill said the department of health was continuing to monitor the use of the treatment.

A trial conducted by Oxford University also found that patients treated with budesonide inhalers got better quicker, were less likely to be hospitalised and ended up feeling better once they recovered.

Budensonide is sold by AstraZeneca as Pulmicort and can also be used to treat conditions such as smoker's lung.

It costs just £14 and Sir Graham said he urged the treatment to be used after a local doctor told him that one hospital had not treat a single "routine asthmatic" for Covid.

This prompted him to investigate whether or not inhalers used by asthma sufferers could help people who contract Covid.

Home treatment for Covid currently consists of paracetamol and bed rest.

The Oxford study found that the medication worked for people of all ages, whether they had underlying health problems or not.

The discovery was made by Oxford’s Principle study, which looked at 4,700 patients across the country.

Chris Butler, professor of primary care at Oxford, added: “This is very exciting.

“This cheap, widely available drug helps people recover quicker, stay better once they feel recovered, and improves their wellbeing.

“Medical practitioners around the world caring for people with Covid-19 may wish to consider this evidence when making treatment decisions, as it should help people with Covid-19 recover quicker.”

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