Dexamethasone, an inexpensive drug, can save the lives of severely ill coronavirus patients.
Experts tested the steroid for the COVID-19 positive cases with little hope. The results are a major breakthrough in fight against the pandemic.
The trial testing of the existing medications included this drug too. UK is the first country to successfully use it.
The National Health Sciences of the UK said that it already has a stockpile of 200,000 doses. The government has already collected it on the basis of hope.
Experts say that the drug will be extremely helpful for poor countries as it is very inexpensive to buy. A dose costs 5 GBP.
According to stats, about 95% of the people suffering from COVID-19 recover without going to hospital. However, the recovered patients need oxygen or mechanical ventilation, mostly.
And this is where dexamethasone comes to use. It’s used for such patients because there is little hope of their lives.
Basically, dexamethasone is useful in reducing inflammation during different illnesses including arthritis and asthma.
The drug has been in use since 1960. UK has approved the use of the drug against COVID-19. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as the “biggest breakthrough yet.”
Testing trial of the drug was led by the Oxford University. The trial involved 2,104 patients given the drug and a double of that not given the same.
The trial found that:
- the drug reduced the risk of death for the patients on ventilator by 12%. (from 40% to 28%)
- for the patients who needed oxygen, the death rate reduced by 5%. (from 25% to 20%)
Trial found that dexamethasone reduced deaths by 35%.
The Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: “This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough.”
The treatment needs 10 days to complete and a total cost of 35 GBP. Dexamethasone is widely available in bulks, globally.
Prof. Landray, the lead researcher, recommended the drug for the hospitalized patients when required, without any delay.
However, there are no benefits of the drug for the patients with no breathing problems. It is only helpful in cases of inability to breath normally without aid.
The RECOVERY trials started in March. They included hydroxychloroquine but the anti-malaria drug was later discontinued due to no proven benefits.
Another drug remdesivir, an antiviral, is also being arranged by the NHS because it reduced the recovery time.
Experts believe the success is enjoyable for the whole world as it is accessible for all and is available at very cheap prices.