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NSAIDs Might Exacerbate or Suppress COVID-19 Depending on Timing, Study Suggests

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 25 Jan 2021
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New research has shown that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduced both antibody and inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection in mice.

The research by Yale University School of Medicine (New Haven, CT, USA) revealed that NSAIDs taken during COVID-19 could be harmful or beneficial, depending upon the timing of administration. For instance, the study found that the NSAID meloxicam dampened the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. On the other hand, NSAIDs’ anti-inflammatory activity might be detrimental early in SARS-CoV-2 infection, because at this stage, inflammation is usually helpful. That changes at later stages of COVID-19, particularly if the patient undergoes an intense inflammation known as a cytokine storm. A cytokine storm is an immune response of inflammatory compounds that often occurs in COVID-19 patients, can lead to complications, need for the intensive care unit, and even death.

A reduction in neutralizing antibodies caused by NSAIDs might be benign, or it might blunt the immune system’s ability to fight the disease during the early stages of infection. It could also reduce the magnitude and/or length of protection from either natural infection or vaccination, according to the researchers.

The research is important because “NSAIDs are arguably the most commonly used anti-inflammatory medications,” said principal investigator Craig B. Wilen, Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Immunology, Yale University School of Medicine. In addition to taking NSAIDs for chronic conditions such as arthritis, people take them “for shorter periods of time during infections, and [during] acute inflammation as experienced with COVID-19, and for side effects from vaccination, such as soreness, fever, and malaise,” said Dr. Wilen.

The research also suggests that the consequences of NSAID use during natural infection and vaccination should be evaluated in humans, said Dr. Wilen. “This data likely exists, particularly in the clinical trials for the vaccines, so it should be mined to see if it produces antibody responses in people.”


Related Links:
Yale University School of Medicine


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