CORONAVIRUS: Dexamethasone proves to be light at the end of the tunnel
By Iain Fraser - Consultant Editor,
Malaga City (Remote)
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Existing Drug hailed as "Major Breakthrough"

CORONAVIRUS: Dexamethasone proves to be light at the end of the tunnel

A relatively cheap drug, already a widely-used steroid called Dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to save the lives of COVID-19 patients in what Researches have hailed as a ‘major breakthrough’ in the coronavirus pandemic.

Trial results announced on Tuesday showed Dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital according to Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor co-leading the trial, currently known as the RECOVERY trial.

Professor Landray said "The trial showed 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), you can treat eight patients and save a life,” he said in an online briefing.

His co-lead investigator, Peter Horby, called Dexamethasone “a major breakthrough.”

The preliminary results, which have not, as yet, been peer-reviewed, suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients with severe cases of the pandemic disease, said the researchers who led the trials.

Robin Ferner, honorary professor of clinical pharmacology at University of Birmingham said “We hope the data on which these results are based will be published as soon as possible so that doctors can confidently put the treatment into practice,” said  The full details of the trial are due to be published shortly.

The UK NHS wasted no time, saying the drug had been approved for use while export restrictions had been introduced to preserve stocks with over 200,000 courses of the treatment stockpiled. Dexamethasone is on the US Food and Drug Administration’s list of drugs in shortage, but several manufacturers, including the largest supplier to the United States, say it is available.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 431,000 people globally.

The RECOVERY trial compared outcomes of around 2,100 patients who were randomly assigned to get the steroid, with those of around 4,300 patients who did not get it. The results suggest one death would be prevented by treatment with Dexamethasone in every eight ventilated COVID-19 patients, and one death would be prevented in every 25 COVID-19 patients that received the drug and were on oxygen.