One of the complications brought about by COVID-19 is breathing difficulties which in certain cases would require patients to be hooked up to a ventilator. However, some only experience mild symptoms and would recover with regular care normally within 14 days. In the early days of the pandemic, several medical experts warned healthcare systems to avoid prescribing ibuprofen. It supposedly aggravates the complications brought about by the disease. With not enough evidence to back this claim, several hospitals in the U.K. plan to conduct a trial using the drug.

Researchers from Kings College London (KCL) and Guy's and St Thomas' hospital will oversee the study. As with most clinical trials, the team will be dividing the volunteers into two clusters. The control group will only receive standard care, while the others are given a liquid capsule form of ibuprofen. This makes the absorption rate quicker than the ones sold over the counter by chemists or in supermarkets, which usually come in tablets.

One of the most common and serious complications from COVID-19 is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The Independent notes that in trials involving animals, Ibuprofen was shown to be effective in treating the aforementioned illness. If human testing proves to be successful, this would ease the burden on medical facilities and allow for the treatment of other patients afflicted by other diseases not brought about by SARS-CoV-2.

"This highly innovative therapeutic approach seeks to rapidly advance a potentially important new treatment," said professor Matthew Hotopf of the KCL. "If successful, the global public health value of this trial result [could] be immense given the low cost and availability of this medicine." Professor Mitul Mehta, also from the KCL stated: "We need to do a trial to show that the evidence actually matches what we expect to happen."

COVID-19 vaccine research
More than 100 vaccines for COVID-19 are in the works globally Photo: AFP / WANG ZHAO

In a related report from last month, doctors apparently prescribed Ibuprofen to COVID-19 patients to help control some symptoms and to help them sleep. While there have been recorded dangers in the long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, on the other hand, short-term treatments did have clear evidence of dangerous side-effects. Nevertheless, the NHS recommends that individuals should consider taking paracetamol first.