Ibuprofen, once thought to worsen coronavirus, now being tested as a treatment

Team from London's St Thomas' Hospital and King's College hope the drug could keep patients off ventilators

Stock photo of Ibuprofen. PA Images / Reuters
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Scientists in London are trialling everyday, low-cost painkiller ibuprofen for coronavirus treatment in the belief that its anti-inflammatory properties could help with breathing problems.

A team from St Thomas' Hospital and King's College hope the drug could keep patients off ventilators and are trialling half of their patients with a special liquid of ibuprofen used to treat arthritis.

Animal studies have suggested the lipid capsule form of the drug might treat acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is one of the complications of severe coronavirus.

A small study in the early stages of the pandemic suggested that ibuprofen had a worsening effect on Covid-19 but subsequent research disproved that.

More than 10,000 human subjects in the UK are also being recruited for advanced studies into a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

Companies and academics around the world are racing to find medicines for the coronavirus.

The US has already pledged up to US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) to AstraZeneca to develop the vaccine it is trialling with Oxford University.

AstraZeneca said it planned to make as many as 30 million doses available in Britain as early as September.

In the UK trial, adult subjects will be selected randomly to receive one or two doses of either the Oxford drug or an already licensed vaccine against meningitis for comparison.

Volunteers will record their reactions in an e-diary and attend follow-up visits. Some will be given swabs for taking samples at home.

A smaller part of the trial will expand the age range of testing to include children aged from 5 to 12 and adults 56 and older. The other, larger group will be studied to test the vaccine’s effectiveness in volunteers 18 and older.