First Drug Proves Able to Improve Survival from COVID-19

First Drug Proves Able to Improve Survival from COVID-19

First Drug Proves Able to Improve Survival from COVID-19

For countries battling high mortality rate due to the coronavirus pandemic, steroid Dexamethasone can be a boon, as researchers in England have claimed that it can reduce COVID-19 deaths by one-third in severely ill hospitalised patients.

Oxford University scientists determined low-priced steroid, dexamethasone, to be the first drug proven to reduce mortality in severe COVID-19 patients, after a 6,000-patient trial. Another set of 4,321 patients were given usual care without the dexamethasone.

"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", he said.

The results suggest one death would be prevented by treatment with dexamethasone in every eight ventilated COVID-19 patients, Landray said.

One death would be prevented in every 25 Covid-19 patients on oxygen that received the drug, he calculated.

Many guidelines have so far not recommended using dexamethasone for COVID-19, while they wait for good quality-evidence on what the safest approach might be.

"On the dexamethasone findings, this is very encouraging because the signal on reduced mortality applies to numerous patients admitted to hospitals and the drug is comparatively low priced and available worldwide".

There was no benefit in patients who didn't require any oxygen.

The UK Department of Health said the drug had been approved to treat all hospitalized COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, effective immediately.

"I assume the majority of people used dexamethasone, but it's not the only one that people could have used", he said. "This is an extremely welcome result", chief investigator Peter Horby, an emerging infectious diseases professor at the University of Oxford, said in a statement.

"Dexamethasone is cheap, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide", he said.

Where it stands: Only one other drug has been shown so far to be helpful in treating coronavirus.

People were, however, advised not to abuse or use the drug without proper doctor's prescription.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wears a protective fave mask after leaving a ceremony for the restarting of Geneva's landmark fountain, known as "Jet d'Eau" following the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus on June 11, 2020 in Geneva.

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, said: "This is a huge breakthrough in our search for new ways to successfully treat patients with Covid, both in the United Kingdom and across the world. World Health Organization clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19", the agency added.

However, dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus - those who don't need help with their breathing.

Studies that are testing other medicines may now need to incorporate the use of the drug, which could complicate analyzing the results. The other drugs being studied are the HIV treatment cocktail lopinavir-ritonavir, the common antibiotic azithromycin, the anti-inflammatory tocilizumab, and Trump's favorite malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine.

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