Article by Anna Schoenbach
Many people take aspirin to combat the aches and fever that accompany colds and the flu. However aspirin may actually be able to treat more than the symptoms – it might be able to combat the viruses themselves.
Scientists have long suspected that aspirin might have antiviral properties. In this study, published in the journal Influenza and other Respiratory Viruses, researchers sought to investigate this effect specifically and determine aspirin’s effectiveness against different viruses. Aspirin was pitted against several viruses – each involved in a human respiratory disease – in cells grown in a petri dish. The researchers then performed several tests to determine the effect of aspirin on each virus. The differences between the viruses studied offered researchers a broad range of virus characteristics and aspirin interactions to consider.
Their results were encouraging – aspirin was found to be effective against strains of the influenza A H1N1 virus. The higher the aspirin dose, the study found, the greater the effect. Several tests were done to confirm that the aspirin molecule itself was interfering with the flu viruses, and the current theory is that aspirin may block the virus from reproducing in the cells. Its potential to treat the common cold has yet to be determined.
Glathaar-Saalmuller B, Mair KH, Saalmuller A. August 2016,
Antiviral Activity of Aspirin Against RNA Viruses of the Respiratory Tract – an In Vitro Study
Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses