A team from London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and Kings College hypothesise the anti-inflammatory painkiller could treat breathing difficulties. The drug can cost less than £5 for a packet and if effective, could help keep patients off ventilators Prof Mitul Mehta, of Kings College London, said: “We need to do a trial to show that the evidence actually matches what we expect to happen.”

For this trial, half of patients will receive ibuprofen as well as usual care.

The trial will use a special formulation as opposed to the variety you might find over the counter, studies in animals suggest it could help with acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the potential complications arising from coronavirus.

Oliver Veran, the French Minister for Solidarity and Health, has previously warned the use of ibuprofen could aggravate the infection.

Mr Veran recommended paracetamol instead.

A review by the Commission on Human Medicines has since concluded that both drugs are safe.

They can both bring down temperatures and fight flu-like symptoms.

The current NHS advice for mild symptoms is to try paracetamol first.

This is because it has fewer side-effects.

Individuals with stomach ulcers are not advised to use ibuprofen.

Ibuprofen can take 20-30 minutes to work if ingested through the mouth and between 24 – 48 hours if it placed on skin.

It works by reducing hormones which cause pain and swelling.

The NHS advice is to not take it on an empty stomach.

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The service also advises not taking ibuprofen if you get allergic reactions to aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.

People who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, people with high blood pressure, liver problems, heart diseases or kidney failure are also amongst those advised not to take the drug.

The listed side-effects if too much is taken are: “feeling and being sick (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, feeling tired or sleepy, black poo and blood in your vomit – a sign of bleeding in your stomach, ringing in your ears (tinnitus), difficulty breathing or changes in your heart rate (slower or faster).”

The website also notes: “The common side effects of ibuprofen taken by mouth happen in more than 1 in 100 people.

“Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don’t go away: headaches, feeling dizzy, feeling sick (nausea), being sick (vomiting), wind, indigestion.”

Most types of ibuprofen are available at pharmacies and supermarkets.

The news comes as the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed another 324 coronavirus deaths in the United Kingdom.

The total death toll is 39,369.

This is out of 277,985 confirmed cases.

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