COVID-19 cure: Dexamethasone first life-saving coronavirus drug, shows University of Oxford’s ‘RECOVERY’ trial

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Updated: Jun 17, 2020 8:20 AM

Results showed that dexamethasone, a cheap and widely-available steroid drug, can become the first medicine to be able to save lives of patients severely affected by COVID-19.

Chris Whitty, Coronavirus, Coronavirus drug, Steroid, Dexamethasone, Dexona, COVID-19, England, medical trial, Covid-19 vaccine, Coronavirus disease, England Chief Medical Officer, dexamethasone for coronavirus, dexamethasone for Covid-19, life-saving drug, Coronavirus-induced Covid-19 disease, COVID-19, oxygen, ventilation, HCQ, Covid-19, coronavirus, Covid-19 cure, coronavirus cure, Covid-19 drug, coronavirus drug, Covid-19 vaccine, coronavirus vaccine, Covid-19 emergency medicine, coronavirus emergency medicine, COVID-19 treatment, virus infection, hydroxychloroquine, fight against COVID-19, clinical trial, blood pressure, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), (chloroquine) CQ, Medical workers attend to a COVID-19 patient in an intensive care unit at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen. Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve survival from COVID-19. The drug is a cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone. Results released Tuesday, June 16 show it reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients. (Courtesy: AP Photo)

Coronavirus drug Dexamethasone: Tests have shown that low doses of dexamethasone can reduce deaths of one-third patients affected by COVID-19. The researchers arrived at the conclusion after assessing the inexpensive drug on 2,100 people, PTI reported.

The research on low-dose dexamethasone steroid treatment was a part of the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial that was testing the efficacy of a wide-range of drugs and therapies for COVID-19, PTI added.

And that the steroid drug Dexamethasone can save the lives of patients who are severely ill with COVID-19, was also endorsed by England’s Chief Medical Officer on Tuesday. As medical trials for Covid-19 vaccines are conducted around the world and scientists toil day and night in search of a cure for the Coronavirus disease, England’s CMO said this comes as the “most important trial result so far”. England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said on Twitter that the findings supporting dexamethasone as a life-saving drug for Coronavirus-induced Covid-19 disease was “the most important trial result for COVID-19 so far.”

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“Significiant reduction in mortality in those requiring oxygen or ventilation from a widely available, safe and well-known drug. Many thanks to those who took part and made it happen. It will save lives around the world (Sic),” the CMO of England added.

Results showed that dexamethasone, a cheap and widely-available steroid drug, can become the first medicine to be able to save lives of patients severely affected by COVID-19.

The report quoted a statement by the University of Oxford which stated that the RECOVERY trial consisted of more than 11,500 patients, who had enrolled in over 175 hospitals across the United Kingdom.

During the course of the RECOVERY trial, 2,104 patients were chosen to randomly receive 6 milligrammes of the steroidal drug dexamethasone in a single dose per day — either orally or via intravenous injection — for ten days at a stretch.

The results of the dexamethasone treatment were compared with 4321 patients randomised to usual care alone.

Peter Horby, a chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial from the University of Oxford, UK, was quoted saying that dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. “This is an extremely welcome result,” he stated.

“The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients,” Horby was quoted by PTI as saying.

Another chief investigator of the RECOVERY trial from the University of Oxford, Martin Landray, was quoted saying that the preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial show very clearly that dexamethasone reduces the risk of death among patients with severe respiratory complications.

“COVID-19 is a global disease – it is fantastic that the first treatment demonstrated to reduce mortality is one that is instantly available and affordable worldwide,” Landray was quoted by PTI as saying.

As per the scientists, the drug — dexamethasone — is inexpensive, available on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.

Findings of the RECOVERY Trial:

As compared to the patients who were administerd dexamethasone doses — among those patients that received usual care alone, mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41 per cent), intermediate in those patients who required oxygen only (25 per cent), and lowest among those who did not require any respiratory intervention (13%), the scientists said.

They found that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients, and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.

However, the researchers said there was no benefit from dexamethasone among the patients who did not require respiratory support.

Based on these results, the scientists believe that the drug could prevent nearly one death in the treatment of around eight ventilated patients, or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

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