Antibiotics work by targeting differences between bacterial cells and human cells. As a virus, COVID-19 lacks the components that antibiotics target therefore they are ineffective against the virus itself.
Some antibiotics have been studied to see if they can help patients with COVID-19. For example azithromycin, which is sometimes taken by those with chest infections and can also help to reduce inflammation, has been studied both in and out of hospital settings but has not been shown to help with COVID-19.
Occasionally some people later develop a bacterial infection whilst their body is fighting off the viral infection. This is called a secondary bacterial infection. Some people may need antibiotics to get them better.
If you are prescribed antibiotics for a bacterial infection whilst you have COVID-19 these will not affect the body’s ability to fight off the virus and can be taken to treat the other infection.