Researchers from the UK’s RECOVERY study will evaluate the standard painkiller aspirin as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients.

The RECOVERY study will assess if the drug can reduce the risk of blood clots in people with COVID-19 – aspirin is an antiplatelet agent which can reduce the risk of clots, according to the researchers.

Around 2,000 COVID-19 patients will be administered 150mg of aspirin daily along with standard of care treatment. The results will then be compared with another 2,000 participants who will have received standard of care alone.

According to the RECOVERY researchers, patients infected with the novel coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 –  are at a higher risk of developing blood clots due to hyper-reactive platelets.

“There is a clear rationale for believing that it (aspirin) might be beneficial, and it is safe, inexpensive and widely available,” said Peter Horby, co-chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial.

“Aspirin is widely used to prevent blood clots in many other conditions, including heart attack, stroke, and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women,” said Martin Landray, Nuffield Department of Population Health, who co-leads the RECOVERY trial.

“But enrolling patients in a randomised trial such as RECOVERY is the only way to assess whether there are clear benefits for patients with COVID-19 and whether those benefits outweigh any potential side effects such as the risk of bleeding,” he added.