CORONAVIRUS: Dexamethasone reduces death risk in severe COVID-19

Dexamethasone emerges as first Covid-19 life-saving drug: Here is all you need to know

Coronavirus Drug Dexamethasone: In a major breakthrough in Covid-19 treatment, scientists in the United Kingdom have ascertained that the generic steroid drug dexamethasone reduced death rate by up to one third in severely ill patients hospitalised. The results retrieved are a part of UK-based RECOVERY trial, also one of the world’s largest randomised trials of drugs to treat COVID-19 patients.

This is the same study that earlier this month proved the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was not working in treating the coronavirus.
In the trial, led by a group of experts from Oxford University, 2,104 patients were administered the dexamethasone and were compared with the 4,321 patients who did not collect the drug. The drug after series of observations is shown to reduce the risk of death by almost a third for patients on ventilators and for patients on oxygen, it reduces deaths by a fifth.
“This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough,” BBC quoted chief investigator Prof Peter Horby as saying.
“Dexamethasone is not expensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide,” one study leader, Peter Horby of the University of Oxford, said.
There are currently no approved cure, treatments or vaccines for Covid-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus which has killed over 431,000 globally.

All you need to know about the Covid-19 drug dexamethasone
Dexamethasone is a generic steroid generally used in other diseases in order to reduce inflammation. The drug also helps to stop some of the damage that might occur when the body’s immune system goes into overuse as it tries to fight off coronavirus.
The steroid drug has been in market as a generic for decades. It is used to treat a set of diseases which includes asthma, rheumatism, allergies and even to assist cancer patients handle the nausea triggered by chemotherapy effectively.
Steroid drugs lowers inflammation, which sometimes arises in Covid-19 patients as the immune system overreacts to fight the infection. This overreaction can prove disastrous, in view of that, doctors have been testing steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs in such patients.
💢What have the dexamethasone trial results shown?
The results have presented that giving low doses of dexamethasone to Covid-19 patients reduced death rates by around one-third among those with the most chronic cases of the coronavirus infection.
The data further indicated for patients on ventilators, it drops down the risk of death from 40 per cent to 28 per cent. For patients requiring oxygen, it cuts the risk of death from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.
Researchers calculated that the drug will prevent one death for every eight patients treated using breathing machines and one for every 25 patients on extra oxygen alone, AP reported.

“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,” Reuters quoted Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor, who is co-leading the trial, as saying.
Meanwhile, dexamethasone does not seem to help people with soft symptoms of coronavirus – those who could breathe easily and do not need help with their breathing.
💢What is the cost of dexamethasone?
In the US, the average retail price is below $50 while in the UK, it costs up to £5. “There is a clear, clear benefit. The treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient. So essentially it costs £35 to save a life. This is a drug that is globally available,” Martin Landray told BBC.

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