Life-Saving Drug – Dexamethasone Cuts COVID-19 Deaths

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Researchers from Oxford University, United Kingdom have come up with a life-saving drug, Dexamethasone, which has shown positive results on patients seriously ill with COVID-19.

Dexamethasone, a cheap and commonly used drug is part of the existing drugs subjected to clinical trial to see if they work against coronavirus.

On Tuesday,15th of June, the research team said the drug reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

“It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth. Had the drug been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.”
“The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions. And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.”

The RECOVERY trial, which started in March, involved 2100 patients who received the drug at a low-to-moderate dose of 6 milligrams per day for 10 days. The results obtained were compared with that of about 4,300 patients who were treated with standard COVID-19 treatment.

The results from the trial reveals that the drug was effective among the critically ill patients on ventilators and also reduced the risk of dying of patients receiving oxygen therapy by 20%. However, there was no positive result from patients who did not require respiratory support.

“Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. This is an extremely welcome result.
“The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so Dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients.” says Peter Horby, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Oxford, UK, and a chief investigator on the trial.

Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor co-leading the trial also gave similar suggestion that the drug should become a standard medication for people with severe cases of COVID-19.

“This is a result that shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given Dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost.
“It’s going to be very hard for any drug really to replace this, given that for less than 50 pounds ($63.26), you can treat eight patients and save a life.”

This breakthrough has been described as “a remarkable British scientific achievement” by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

“We are seeing the first chink of light,” he told the daily Downing Street news briefing.
“There is a genuine cause to celebrate a remarkable British scientific achievement. We have turned the tide on the virus.”

He said the government have instructed the National Health Service (NHS) to make Dexamethasone available to patients.

“We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.”

There are already supplies for 200,000 patients in the case of second wave of the virus in the country.

 

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