GW researchers find aspirin use linked with improved COVID-19 outcomes

A study led by researchers at a D.C. university found that COVID-19 patients who enter the hospital and are already on a low-dose aspirin regimen or are given aspirin within 24 hours of admittance have increased chances for better outcomes.

Researchers at The George Washington University found that low-dose aspirin of 81 milligrams was associated with:
  • 47% reduction in the risk of dying in the hospital.
  • 44% reduced risk of needing a ventilator.
  • 43% reduced risk of being admitted to the intensive care unit.

“What is so promising about this study is that aspirin is an inexpensive drug. It’s widely available throughout the world, and this association is a huge win for those looking to reduce risk from some of the most devastating effects of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jonathan Chow, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and program director of the Critical Care Anesthesiology Fellowship at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The findings involve more than 400 patients admitted between March and April 2020 to U.S. hospitals, including GW Hospital, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina, and the Northeast Georgia Health System.

While this relatively small pilot was a retrospective study, Chow said a study underway in the United Kingdom should definitively determine whether aspirin is merely associated with or actually causes improved outcomes for COVID-19 patients.

RECOVERY trial investigators, who confirmed dexamethasone as a COVID-19 treatment earlier this year, added aspirin use to their examinations last fall.

The RECOVERY trial was designed to evaluate the effects of potential treatments in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

“We should see some results from that ‘gold standard’ randomized control trial very soon,” Chow said.

Chow cautions against people trying to self-medicate — in people with cardiovascular disease, taking aspirin can increase the risk of internal bleeding by 1.3 times.

“Before patients start taking aspirin, they need to consult with their primary care physicians, so they can weigh the risks and the benefits,” he said.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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