Small doses of generic steroid dexamethasone to patients hospitalized with COVID-19 lowered death rates by about a third among those who have the most severe case of infection, as shown in the trial data on Tuesday.
The findings, presented as the "major breakthrough" by researchers leading the UK-led clinical study known as RECOVERY, recommend that the drug should right away become standard treatment in patients treated in a hospital with a pandemic COVID-19, the scientists said.
The medication is part of the world 's largest trial testing established treatments to check if they also function against coronavirus.
The mortality rate for COVID-19 patients on ventilators was reduced by a third. For those on oxygen, the death rate was cut by a fifth.
Had the medication been used to treat COVID-19 infected patients in the UK since the onset of the pandemic coronavirus, up to 5,000 lives could have been recovered, experts claim.
And that could be of enormous benefit to majorly hit countries like India with a high percentage of COVID-19 patients.
Approximately 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus heal without hospital admission. Of those admitted to the hospital, most may also heal, but some may require oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
These are high-risk patients that dexamethasone tends to aid.
The drug is now used to curtail inflammation in a number of other conditions, and it seems to help prevent some of the damage that may occur when the human immune system is overdriven as it efforts to defend off coronavirus.
The over-reaction of the body is called a "cytokine storm", and it can be fatal.
In the dexamethasone trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients received dexamethasone, compared to more than 4,000 who did not obtain the medication.
For COVID-19 patients on ventilators, the risk of death decreased from 40% to 28%. In patients with a need for oxygen, the risk of death decreased from 25% to 20%. This is the only medication which has been shown to reduce mortality-and greatly reduces it. This is a major breakthrough as cited by the researchers.
Lead researcher Prof. Martin Landray says the results suggest that one life could be saved for every eight treated coronavirus patients with ventilators.
In the case of oxygen-treated COVID-19 patients, you save one life for roughly every 20-25 patients treated with the dexamethasone.
It is very beneficial. Treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone drug and costs about £5 for each patient. So it's basically $35 worth saving a life. It's a drug that's available worldwide.
Hospital COVID-19 patients should be given it now, if suitable, without postponement, but people are advised not to go out and buy it to take at home without prescription.
Dexamethasone does not necessarily help patients with milder symptoms of coronavirus-those who do not require help with their breathing as found in Dexamethasone trial.
The Recovery Trial has been underway since March. This included the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which was consequently excreted in the context of a rise in fatalities and heart issues.
Another drug called Remdesivir, an antiviral therapy that happens to shorten restoration time for people with coronavirus, has already been made accessible on the NHS.
The first drug that has been shown to reduce the deaths of COVID-19 is not a new, costly medication, but a vintage, cheap-as-chip steroid.
It's something to honour, because it means that coronavirus patients around the globe can benefit from it instantly. That's why the top-level results of this Dexamethasone trial have been hurried out-because the repercussions are so huge worldwide.
Also Read: Will the Coronavirus Ever Go?
What is Dexamethasone?
Since the early 1960s, Dexamethasone has been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, hormone/blood/immune system disorders, breathing problems, allergic reactions, certain eye and skin conditions, specific bowel disorders, and certain cancers.
It is often used as an assessment for adrenal gland disorder (Cushing syndrome). This medicine is a hormone called a corticosteroid (glucocorticoid). It decreases your body's natural defensive reaction and helps reduce symptoms such as inflammation and allergic reactions.
Dexamethasone vs Remdesivir
Half of all COVID-19 patients who require a supporter do not survive, so slashing that risk by a third would have a massive effect. The drug is administered intravenously in hospice care and in tablet form to less severely ill patients. To date, the only other drug that has been shown to impact COVID-19 patients is remdesivir, an antiviral therapy that has been used for Ebola.
It's been shown that the period of coronavirus symptoms has been decreased from 15 days to 11, but the proof has not been solid enough to demonstrate whether it has decreased death rates. In contrast to dexamethasone, remdesivir is a new drug with limited stock and a price is still to be unveiled.
Henry holds a diploma in Linguistics and is fluent in both, written and verbal Spanish. He is an avid reader and loves to stay updated about the healthcare industry. If you are reading about any major breakthrough in the medical field, know that Henry is the one who brought it to you.