CEM Report, Lagos
A major breakthrough has been made in the search for cure for coronavirus. Dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available drug can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus.
According to the report published by BBC, the low-dose steroid treatment is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.
Just as HydroxylChloroquine, Dexamethasone, is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
Based on the efficacy of the drug, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved if the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic researchers say.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there was a genuine case to celebrate “a remarkable British scientific achievement”, adding: “We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.”
Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty said it would save lives around the world.
Dexamethasone help critical cases that usually need oxygen or mechanical ventilation to recover faster.
The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and skin some conditions.
And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.
In the trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and compared with more than 4,000 who were not.
For patients on ventilators, it cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%.
For patients needing oxygen, it cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.
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 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.”
The first drug proven to cut deaths from Covid-19 is not some new, expensive medicine but an old, cheap-as-chips steroid.
That is something to celebrate because it means patients across the world could benefit immediately.