Australian and British researchers are collaborating on a trial to see whether a common asthma inhaler could drastically prevent people being hospitalised with severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Associate Professor Dan Nicolau from Queensland University of Technology is working with colleagues from the University of Oxford in Britain to run a clinical trial investigating whether there is any benefit to giving people a steroid inhaler in the early stages of the disease.
Professor Nicolau said his interest in the idea was raised when he and his colleagues looked at the data on COVID-19 patients and realised there were very few asthmatics and people with chronic lung disease among those who have to be hospitalised with COVID-19.
"That was really interesting, because you would expect those people to be at higher risk of suffering bad effects, but the data suggests the opposite," he said.
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