Dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment: Big claims by researchers! Here’s all you need to know

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Published: June 17, 2020 3:31 PM

The drug dexamethasone has been tried after the scientists discovered that malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not work against the deadly virus.

It is to note that the drug is not used on patients that do not have a severe infection or do not need ventilator/oxygen for support.

Dexamethasone as a life saving drug: After hydroxychloroquine, riboflavin and many more clinical trials, some scientists in the United Kingdom have claimed that the generic steroid drug dexamethasone has successfully favored in treating the novel Coronavirus and helped reduce the death rate among severely ill people by one-third. According to a report by the IE, the results came after scientists in the UK have conducted “world’s largest randomised trial of drugs” in order to treat those who were infected with Coronavirus. The drug dexamethasone has been tried after they discovered that malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not work against the deadly virus.

The report highlighted that the trial was done by a team at Oxford University where around 2,100 patients were given dexamethasone and their treatment was compared with around 4,300 people who did not receive the drug. As a result, death risk was reduced for one-third of patients who were on ventilators and one-fifth for those on oxygen. A report by BBC citing chief investigator Prof Peter Horby has said dexamethasone is the only drug as of now that has made a breakthrough in reducing mortality and can be used worldwide.

Further, using this drug, the report said, can cut the risk of death from 40 per cent to 28 per cent in cases where patients are on ventilators and those who need oxygen, the death risk will go down from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. This implies the drug can prevent one person from dying out of eight who are on ventilators.

What exactly is dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone, according to the report, is a generic steroid which is largely used in many diseases like asthma, allergies, rheumatism, and it also helps cancer patients with nausea caused due to chemotherapy. Mainly, it reduces inflammation and further supports the body’s immune system to fight COVID-19 infection. It is to note that Coronavirus can cause inflammation and steroids are used to treat it. The inflammation occurs when the body is fighting an infection which can sometimes overreact. The report asserted that this overreaction can also be fatal in some cases.

It is to note that the drug is not used on patients that do not have a severe infection or do not need ventilator/oxygen for support. Meanwhile, the report highlighted that the drug is cost-effective in the UK as it only costs 5 pounds which is needed for 10 days. In the US, the cost of this drug is $50.

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