The Sunday Telegraph
Asthma inhalers ‘speed Covid recovery by three days’
MPs hail findings as further evidence hospitals can cope with any surge caused by delta variant
USING an asthma inhaler cuts three days off the length of time people are taking to recover from a bout of Covid19, boosting hopes that lockdown restrictions will end for good on July 19.
The findings have led to doctors prescribing inhalers – used by those with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to stave off shortness of breath – to Covid sufferers on “a caseby-case basis”, ministers disclosed to MPs late last week.
Matt Hancock this week told MPs that people who catch coronavirus were now spending 20 per cent less time in hospital beds as the vaccine rollout continues. MPs hailed the boost as further evidence that hospitals could cope with any surge in cases caused by the spread of the Indian or delta variant.
In a parliamentary answer, Jo Churchill, the health minister, said a government study had found “inhaled budesonide reduced the time to selfreported recovery by a median of three days”. Inhaled budesonide had been trialled earlier this year among non-hospitalised Covid patients aged 65 and over and those aged 50 and over with an underlying health condition, she said.
Ms Churchill told MPs that it was not currently recommended as the standard of care in the UK but that guidance had been issued for clinicians to consider prescribing it on a case-by-case basis.
She said the findings were based on interim results but that “full analysis is currently under way”. She added that the department would monitor the results as more data become available and “adjust guidance” if appropriate.
That came after Mr Hancock disclosed that patients contracting Covid19 in the so-called third wave of the pandemic were spending 20 per cent less time in hospital. The Health Secretary told MPs: “The best estimate I have is that the average length of stay for somebody in hospital owing to Covid has fallen from 10 days to eight days.
“That is partly because of treatments, but also partly because some of the people in hospital have had at least one dose of the vaccine, which is highly likely to have reduced the severity of the disease.”
Sir Graham Brady, a senior figure in the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, questioned whether the Government should make more use of inhalers.
He told The Sunday Telegraph that a doctor had told him his hospital had not treated a single “routine asthmatic” among its Covid-19 patients, which suggested that the inhaler used by asthmatics appeared to prevent Covid developing in to a serious disease.
The Department of Health was approached for comment.