Study shows dexamethasone is more effective for COVID-19 patients in reducing the risk of death; it is also cheap and readily available in the Indian market.
Coronavirus infections continue to rise across the globe, including in India, even as a vaccine is still far away. Health departments, doctors, scientists, and researchers across the world are advising different approaches and trying different medicines to treat COVID-19 patients. The Internet is loaded with information about coronavirus—starting from its symptoms to its cure. It is really difficult to judge which one is true.
To tackle any outbreak, “reliable information is key,” says Ganesan Karthikeyan, a professor of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He said “it is even more crucial now” because of the ongoing pandemic, which has so far infected 12,390,370 people across the globe, with 557,411 deaths linked to the COVID-19.
The amount and variety of information available on coronavirus make it difficult for someone to judge which one to true and which one hyperbole—which one to believe. The consequence of all this, Karthikeyan says, is “impaired judgement, misplaced beliefs, and distorted priorities,” as reported by the Indianexpress.com.
“The run on pharmacies for hydroxychloroquine (triggered by mere speculations) that we witnessed a few weeks ago is a prime example,” writes Karthikeyan.
He said that almost every TV channel and newspaper seems to be gushing over the miraculous effects of the antiviral drug remdesivir and plasma therapy. “Barring a few, even some of the so-called experts are not hesitant to overstate their benefits,” he added, as reported by the Indianexpress.com.
So people, in general, believe plasma therapy and remdesivir are now the only two treatments available for COVID-19. But, according to Karthikeyan, a study of dexamethasone in the UK has shown more potential.
According to him, this is the first study to show an unequivocal and large benefit in COVID-19 patients in reducing death risks. Dexamethasone is cheap and readily available with several branded generics in India.
Karthikeyan informs a course of treatment at the prescribed dose of dexamethasone would cost less than Rs 10 per patient, while remdesivir would cost tens of thousands of rupees per course even of the brands marketed by Indian companies.