A cheap drug, commonly used to treat asthma, can help people at home recover more quickly from Covid-19, a UK trial has found.
Two puffs of budesonide twice a day could benefit many over-50s with early symptoms around the world, said the University of Oxford research team.
There are also early signs the drug could reduce hospital admissions.
The NHS says it can now be prescribed by GPs to treat Covid on a case-by-case basis from today.
At present, there are few options for treating people with Covid who are not in hospital, apart from paracetamol.
This widely-available asthma drug works in the lungs, where coronavirus can do serious damage, and could improve the recovery of at-risk patients who are unwell with Covid at home.
Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he was “delighted” by the trial results so far and he said GPs could prescribe it after “a shared decision conversation” with patients.