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Asthma drug Budesonide reduces Covid hospitalization rate dramatically

The STOIC study gave an asthma drug to Covid patients, but it worked so astonishingly well, they had to stop the trial early, as it was unfair to keep giving the placebo to people who were ending up in hospital ten times as often as people who got Budesonide.

“We were hoping for 50% reduction [in severity]. We got 90%, which … is off the charts”

–h/t Eric W at WUWT

Though to keep some perspective, out of about 140 people enrolled, 70 got the drug and 70 got the placebo, with 10 of the placebo group going to hospital and only 1 in the Budesonide group.

You’ll be shocked to know that giving the drug early works better than waiting for the virus to replicate wildly. You’ll also be shocked that there were some doctors using this 7 or more months ago, and yet the media didn’t mention it Apart from Newsmax. (Eg See Dr Richard Bartlett talk about this back in July last year, who talks of using a nebulizer, not an inhaler.  )

Common asthma drug slashes Covid hospitalisation by 90%, experts say

Vanessa Chambers, The Sun

A COMMON asthma drug slashes the likelihood a

coronavirus, SARS Cov-2

Image: by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Covid patient will need to go to hospitalisation by 90 per cent, experts say. Budesonide, which is sold as Pulmicort, also shortens recovery times from the infection, according to new research. The steroid is typically given to people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is sold under the name Pulmicort.

Essentially, people noticed that asthma and COPD patients were not ending up in hospital in Wuhan as often as we’d expect. This was not like past pandemics — Eg in H1N1 influenza. One of the common things about asthma and COPD is that patients often use some form of oral cortiocosteroid. The big question is why-o-why did it take a whole year to do a small study like this one?

The main manufacturer of Budesonide is AstraZeneca which has also invested millions in making a vaccine. Could that have something to do with it? Notably, the researchers mention how significant this discovery might be for “low and middle income countries”. In wealthy countries it apparently is merely an “adjunct” until “widespread vaccination can be achieved.” Don’t hurt the cash cow, eh?

An asthma drug with 90% efficacy would be as good as best vaccines and may also create immunity to some extent.  Though it may not last long. (Neither might the vaccine generated immunity).

The treatment group had slightly less fever and got well slightly faster. Treated people were less likely to still be sick on Day 14 or 28. So this should help reduce long covid too.

From the discussion in the paper:

1. Glucocortiocoids are widely used, cheap and safe:

,….inhaled glucocorticoids are among the most prescribed medicine of any class around the world, listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of essential medicines25.

2. We’ve known for a long time that this drug helps reduce the effect of viral infections on asthma:

Moreover, evidence of the utility of inhaled glucocorticoids, in reducing viral exacerbations of asthma have been known for many decades9 , whilst specifically, inhaled budesonide has shown effect at reducing rhinovirus replication in-vitro26. The efficacy of Dexamethasone in RECOVERY17, for severe disease also supports our findings, whilst there is plausibility that the immune-modulatory effect of inhaled glucocorticoids27, may also apply to any future viral epidemics.

3. This is more than just an anti-inflammatory response:

In our study, we found that inhaled budesonide also demonstrated benefit in the secondary outcomes, with quicker symptom resolution in those treated with budesonide either measured using a selfreport of symptom recovery, or defined as normalisation of prospectively collected symptom scores measured using the FluPRO®13 or the CCQ12. The positive impact on temperature when used to treat early COVID-19 is further evidence that inhaled budesonide is modifying the disease process.

4. It may help with long covid — and 1 in 5 infections in the UK are still suffering symptoms five weeks later:

Of note, there was a significantly greater population of participants randomised to budesonide who were free of symptoms at 28 days compared to participants randomized to usual care. In the United Kingdom, up to 20% of patients28 report persistent symptoms 5 weeks after COVID-19. This interesting finding, also suggests that intervention with an inhaled glucocorticoids might impact on rate of the persistent long-term symptoms in COVID-19 (“long COVID”); and should be investigated further in view of the significant longterm health and economic impact of long COVID.

For those wondering, Budenoside is very similar to Flixotide (a preventer for asthma) but they are not identical.

h/t Anton, New Chum, PhilF (x 3), Eric W, RicDre, Old Ozzie


Ramakrishnan et al (2021Inhaled budesonide in the treatment of early COVID-19 illness: a randomised controlled trial, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.02.04.21251134

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