An inhaled steroid is being trialled nationally as a potential at-home treatment for coronavirus.
The University of Oxford is leading a trial into the use of Budesonide as a treatment that covid patients can take themselves.
What is it?
The drug is commonly prescribed to those with long-term asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and there are no serious side-effects associated with it.
It is thought that the inhaled steroid could minimise lung damage caused by the virus and the body’s natural immune response to it.
Patients suffering from Covid-19 often have a significant immune response to the virus leading to inflammation that can cause damage to human cells in the airways and lungs.
How will the trial work?
The steroid is being tested in a Principle (Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against Covid-19 In older peoPLE) trial.
Of those participating in the trial, some will be sent an inhaler in the post which they will be instructed to use, alongside the standard care they’d receive from a doctor.
Those who have received inhalers will be asked to inhale two puffs twice a day for two weeks, with each dose containing 400micrograms of budesonide.
The conditions of these patients will be compared after 28 days with those who only received standard care.
Professor Chris Butler at the University of Oxford, who led the Principle trial, said: “Budesonide is a relatively inexpensive, safe and easy-to-administer drug for respiratory conditions that may have a role to play in treating Covid-19.
“It is only through enrolling volunteers on a randomised controlled trial like Principle that we can assess whether there are clear benefits or harms associated with potential treatments like budesonide.
He added: “We need many more volunteers to join the trial so we can get the answers we really need to keep people with Covid-19 out of hospital.
“Like vaccines and preventative measures, treatments have an important role to play in minimising the burden of this disease on society.”