Using an asthma inhaler could speed up recovery from coronavirus by three days, Ministers have been told.
MPs were told last week that doctors have been describing budesonide inhalers on a “case-by-case basis” for Covid patients, according to reports in the Telegraph.
Budesonide was added to the Oxford University’s Platform Randomised Trial of Interventions against Covid-19 in Older People (Principle) trial in November last year.
Early treatment with the medication shortens recovery time by a median average of three days in those with Covid-19 who are at higher risk of more severe illness and are treated in the community, according to the research.
Health minister Jo Churchill said that clinical guidance had been issued for the drug, though said that it was not recommended as the standard of care in the UK.
Churchill said the department of health was continuing to monitor the use of the treatment.
Joint chief investigator Professor Richard Hobbs, head of Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, said of the study’s results, published in April 2021:
“For the first time, we have high-quality evidence of an effective treatment that can be rolled out across the community for people who are at most risk of developing more severe illness from Covid-19.
“Unlike other proven treatments, budesonide is effective as a treatment at home and during the early stages of the illness.
“This is a significant milestone for this pandemic and a major achievement for community-based research.”
MPs have said that the government should be making more use of inhalers.
One senior figure in the Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, Sir Graham Brady said: "If the average length of stay in a hospital is now eight days, and you can reduce that by three days typically by using inhalers, why the hell haven't they done that?"