May 4th is recognized as World Asthma Day. The day is an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic took over the world and claimed many lives, the people of the world were praying for the year to end soon with a hope for a better 2021. However, 2021 has proven to be worse – especially for India, as the second wave of the pandemic has collapsed the health infrastructure of the country. Amid this, a new connection is discovered with regards to the treatment of the ongoing pandemic and treatment of Asthma.
Use of Asthma Inhalers for Treating COVID-19 Patients
According to a new study conducted by the University of Oxford, medical inhalers used by asthmatic patients can reduce the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in lung cells and limit the risk of hospitalisation in COVID patients. The study that has been published in the Lancet journal revealed that inhalation of budesonide, a common medicine used to treat Asthma, can reduce the risk of severe COVID and hospitalisation amongst people infected with SARs-COV-2 infections.
The theory is confirmed by earlier studies from China, Italy and other countries that suggested the same claiming patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were less likely to be hospitalised.
Experts say the use of asthma inhalers in fighting early Covid-19 infection could reduce the burden on medical infrastructure significantly and prove to be a game-changer.
Use of budesonide for treatment of COVID-19 in Maharashtra
Taking into account this study, the government of Maharashtra has decided to use budesonide to reduce the cases of hospitalisation in the state that is overburdened with a huge number of COVID-19 cases. Dr Rahul Pandit, who is a member of Maharashtra’s Covid-19 task force says Inhaled budesonide is likely to be added to the list of medicines that could be used to support the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Dr Pandit who is also director of critical care at Fortis Hospitals, Mumbai, says, “The decision will be taken on the usage of Asthma inhalers soon, and implementing it won’t be much of a problem since this can be given to mild and moderate patients who don’t need hospitalization.”
Analysts are expecting more and more states to follow Maharashtra’s example of using Asthma drug to treat Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms. They believe that this would aid in reducing the chances of hospitalization and in turn, taking the steam off the medical infrastructure of the country grappling with rising coronavirus cases.