Coronavirus: ‘Major breakthrough’ as UK scientists find cheap steroid cuts COVID-19 deaths
Written by Gavin on 16th June 2020
Scientists in the UK have discovered a cheap and available treatment for COVID-19 patients.
They’ve described the use of a common steroid drug as a “major breakthrough”.
The drug, dexamethasone, reduced death rates by a third for patients on ventilators, and by a fifth for patients needing oxygen.
The results have been published from the Recovery trial which is assessing a number of different possible COVD-19 treatments.
It is thought the drug could have saved between 4,000 to 5,000 lives if it had been used earlier in the pandemic.
Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the trial, said: “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.”
His co-lead investigator, Peter Horby, said dexamethasone – a generic steroid widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation – is “the only drug that’s so far shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly”.
“It is a major breakthrough,” he said.
There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.