Cheap steroid dramatically reduces Covid-19 deaths - research

Henrietta Strickland
June 16, 2020

"It will save lives around the world (Sic)", the CMO of England added.

A low-priced synthetic steroid has been found to reduce COVID-19 deaths by up to a third in what is being described as a "groundbreaking development" in the fight against the virus.

Among patients who received supplemental oxygen but no ventilation, the drug reduced the death rate by 20%.

"We're working with the NHS so that the NHS standard treatment for COVID-19 will include dexamethasone from this afternoon", he added. One caveat: The trial data have not been published and have not undergone scientific review.

The drug could offer hope for hundreds on oxygen support and the 336 on ventilators in England.

"I think it needs to be validated, but it certainly suggests that this could be beneficial in this setting", Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in an interview with CNBC, according to Stat News.

The British government announced on Tuesday that dexamethasone is to be used on COVID-19 patients "from this afternoon".

Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, was also one of the chief investigators.

The UK Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance also stressed that "it is particularly exciting as this is an low-cost widely available medicine".

"It is particularly exciting as this is an cheap, widely available medicine".

"This is a groundbreaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable", he said.

The trial results are particularly promising as about 40 percent of COVID-19 patients who require a ventilator end up dying, often because of the body's uncontrolled inflammatory response to the virus.

More than 11,500 patients from 175 NHS hospitals have been enrolled on to the Recovery trial since it was set up in March to test a range of potential coronavirus treatments.

Researchers led by a team from the University of Oxford administered dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases, to more than 2,000 severely ill COVID-19 patients.

The trial included a control group of 4,000 patients who did not receive the treatment.

Researchers estimated that the drug would prevent one death for every eight patients treated while on breathing machines and one for every 25 patients on extra oxygen alone.

The mortality rate among those not requiring respiratory intervention was 13%.

Unlike medical post-traumatic stress disorder, which is also a concern for COVID-19 patients, PICS typically isn't debilitating enough to reach a clinical level of depression or anxiety but can drain survivors and their family members for months or years, Craig Weinert, a pulmonologist and critical-care physician at the University of Minnesota who's studied mental health outcomes of ICU patients, told Business Insider.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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