In what may be a major breakthrough in medical world in the fight against COVID-19, Oxford researchers have found a drug which can save the lives of critically ill Coronavirus patients, now it’s not entirely foolproof but it does have its advantages of course. The drug which is known as “Dexamethasone,” has been proven to reduce the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators is also able to reduce it by a fifth for patients in need of oxygen, now the numbers are small but nonetheless they carry a lot of importance.
The low-dose Dexamethasone is one of the six drugs which have been evaluated in in what is the biggest global trial in the history of this world, this is all being done to determine the efficacy of existing treatments against the COVID-19 virus. Other than Dexamethasone, researchers are also looking in to the effectiveness of Lopinavir-Ritonavir, Hydroxychloroquine, Azithromycin, Tocilizumab, and Convalescent plasma therapy against Coronavirus infection.
In the trial, 2,000 patients were administered Dexamethasone as researchers compared the results with 4,000 other patients who were treated without Dexamethasone. The final reports suggested that Dexamethasone reduced the risk of death from 40% to 28% in patients who were on ventilators while it brought down the risk of death from 25% to 20% in patients who required oxygen to stay alive. Chief investigator of the trial, Professor Peter Horby has said, “Dexamethasone is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough”.
Another Chief professor of the trial, Martin Landray has also stated that Dexamethasone is a very cheap and easily available drug which can have a significant impact in poorer countries struggling with high numbers of COVID-19 patients. He said “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 globally available drug”. Experts have also said that Dexamethasone could have saved 5,000 lives in the UK alone, had they figured out this treatment in the earlier stages of the worldwide pandemic.