The common anti-inflammatory and painkiller ibuprofen are being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19 in a U.K. study.

The study, dubbed “Liberate,” will be conducted under the guidance of the team from London's Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital and King's College. The researchers believe that the drug can be used to treat breathing difficulties in patients with COVID-19.

Hoping that ibuprofen can help keep severely-ill coronavirus patients away from ventilators, the researchers have decided to kickstart a clinical trial in which half of the patients being treated for coronavirus infection will be given the drug.

The title of the clinical trial “Lipid Ibuprofen Versus Standard of Care for Acute Hypoxemic Respiratory Failure Due to COVID-19: a Multicentre, Randomised, Controlled Trial” indicates that the study will target coronavirus-infected people with severe respiratory distress.

For the clinical trial, the researchers plan to use a special formulation for ibuprofen instead of the regular drug which is available in the form of tablets in pharmacies and if often purchased by people for pain relief in the case of chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Previous studies conducted in animals show that ibuprofen may prove effective in the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is also one of the complications in people with a severe form of COVID-19.

Prof Mitul Mehta of King’s College London says that the team needs to complete the clinical trial to be able to justify the use of the drug and prove that the benefits that they are hoping it has in resolving breathing issues in severely-ill COVID-19 patients.

The trial has been announced after looming fears that ibuprofen may worsen COVID-19.

French health minister Olivier Veran has previously warned that the drug may worsen the symptoms of coronavirus infection in patients and later on, the Britons were advised to take paracetamol as the first line of treatment for COVID-19.

Later, NHS decided to remove ibuprofen from its list of suggested treatments for mild COVID-19. A study then showed that consumption of ibuprofen neither improved the condition of the patient and neither worsened it.

The researchers are keen on completing the trial but have emphasized that people should not take the drug at home as an antidote for coronavirus.

The clinical trial will be done on patients in a hospital setting and not with those at home with mild or suspected COVID-19.

Pills A nurse has reportedly admitted to setting fire to his workplace to cover a pill theft. Creative Commons