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In Covid-19, inhaled budesonide may prevent damaging inflammation, stop the virus from getting into lung cells and inhibit viral replication.

A white turbohaler on a blue background. © Shutterstock

From today, the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide will be investigated as part of the UK’s national priority platform trial for Covid-19 treatments that can be taken at home.

Led by the University of Oxford, the Platform Randomised trial of Interventions against Covid-19 In older peoPLE (PRINCIPLE) Trial is evaluating treatments that can help people aged over 50 recover more quickly from Covid-19 illness and prevent the need for hospital admission. The study has so far recruited more than 2100 volunteers from across the UK.

Inhaled budesonide is commonly prescribed as part of the long-term management of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with no serious side-effects associated with short-term use.  

In some patients with Covid-19, the body mounts a significant immune response to fight the virus, causing high levels of inflammation that can damage human cells in the airways and lungs. Inhaling budesonide into the airways targets anti-inflammatory treatment where it is needed most, and can potentially minimise any lung damage that might otherwise be caused by the virus.

The full story is available on the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences website

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