The lives of critically ill patients with coronavirus can be saved with a cheap and widely available medicine.
Experts in the UK say the successful treatment with the low-dose steroid drug dexamethasone is a “tremendous breakthrough” in the fight against this deadly virus.
The drug is part of a larger global treatment trial to see if any of the popular drugs are effective against the corona virus.
The use of this drug in the trial reduced the mortality rate by one-third in patients who were on ventilators and by about 20% in patients who were on oxygen.
Researchers say that if the drug had been given to patients as soon as the epidemic broke out in the UK, about 5,000 lives could have been saved.
In addition, poor countries with a large number of Code 19 patients can benefit greatly.
About 19 out of 20 people infected with the coronavirus recovered without going to the hospital. And most of those who were hospitalized also recovered, although some needed oxygen or artificial respiration. These are patients who were in critical condition but benefited from the use of dexamethasone.
This drug is already prescribed to reduce inflammation in many disorders, and it seems to reduce the damage to the body’s overactive immune system after being infected with the covid19 and to eliminate the virus. Is.
The body’s excessive response is called cytokine and can be fatal.
During the trial, which was supervised by a team from the University of Oxford, 2,000 patients were admitted to the hospital with dexamethasone and then compared to 4,000 patients who had not been given the drug.
Patients on ventilators had a 40 to 25 percent reduced risk of death. Patients who needed oxygen had a 25 to 20 percent reduction in risk of death.
“So far, this is the only drug that has reduced the death rate, and significantly reduced it,” said Professor Peter Horby, head of the researchers. This is a great development. ”
Another researcher, Professor Martin Landre, says that one in eight patients who need artificial respiration can survive with the drug.
Similarly, at least one out of every 20 to 25 patients on oxygen can be saved.
“The benefits are obvious,” he says. And dexamethasone treatment for 10 days costs five pounds (approximately ڈالر 6) per patient. Which means 35 pounds of life-saving medicine is available worldwide
Professor Landrey says the drug can be given to patients in hospitals if appropriate, but people should not take it on their own at home.
Dexamethasone is not beneficial for people who do not have severe symptoms of coronavirus and do not have difficulty breathing.
The trial, called the Recovery Trial, has been going on since March. The trial also included the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which was later discontinued due to concerns that it could increase the risk of heart disease and death.
Another antiviral drug, Remediesaver, which is helpful in early recovery from the corona virus, is already available for treatment at the UK’s National Health Service or NHS.
According to the BBC’s health correspondent Fergus Walsh, dexamethasone has been used for a variety of ailments since the 1960’s, including asthma and joint pain. More than half of all patients with COD 19 who need a ventilator die, so a one-third reduction in the death rate is a significant achievement.
The drug is given intravenously to critically ill people, while it is given in pill form to patients with mild symptoms.