A new research showed that both antibody and inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection can be reduced by using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in mice.
The study conducted by Yale University School of Medicine is published in the Journal of Virology.
This research is important as NSAIDs are the most commonly used anti-inflammatory medications. People take NSAIDs for chronic conditions such as arthritis, for shorter duration like infections, and during acute inflammation as experienced with COVID-19. They also take NSAIDs for side effects from vaccination, such as soreness, fever, and malaise.
They have also suggested that the effect of NSAID during natural infection and vaccination should be evaluated in humans.
Dr Wilen said, "This data likely exists, particularly in the clinical trials for the vaccines, so it should be mined to see if it produces antibody responses in people. Taking NSAIDs during COVID-19 could be harmful or beneficial, depending on the timing of administration."
Dexamethasone which is not an NSAID, is a potent anti-inflammatory drug shows damaging effects in COVID-19 patients when taken early in the infection, but it is beneficial when given during the later stages of COVID-19.
In the same way, NSAID's anti-inflammatory activity can be damaging in the early stage of COVID-19 infection as in the early stage inflammation is usually helpful. However in the later stages COVID-19, anti-inflammatory drugs are useful if the patient undergoes an intense inflammation known as a cytokine storm. Cytokine storm which often occurs in COVID-19 patients is an immune response of inflammatory compounds leading to complications, need for the intensive care unit, and even death.
NSAIDs can reduce the neutralizing antibodies which can blunt the immune system's ability to fight the disease during the early stages of infection and they can decrease the magnitude and duration of protection from either vaccination or natural infection.
At first the researchers expected that were would be little or no effect of NSAIDs on viral infection, which was correct. They thought that the NSAIDs would not have any effect on the antibody response to natural infection but they were proved wrong.