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‘Key in helping to treat coronavirus’

London : The widely available steroid drug Dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to be able to save lives among covid-19 patients in what scientist hailed as a ‘major breakout’. University of Oxford Researchers said on Tuesday Deaths among patients who needed assistance breathing were lower over a period of four weeks when they received a 60 year old medicine called Dexamethasone than among those who got standard care alone.

Martin Landray , an Oxford University Professor who is so leading the clinical trial, in virtual press conference on Tuesdaysaid “This is result that shows that if patients who have covid-19 and are on Ventilators or are on Oxygen are given Dexamethasone , it will save lives , and it will do so at remarkable low cost”

His co-lead investigator Peter Horby said Dexamethasone – a generic steroid widely used in it other diseases to reduce inflammation – is “the only drug that’s so far shown to reduce morality and it reduces it significantly”

He said “It’s a major breakthrough. Dexamethasone is inexpensive , on the shelf , and can be used immediately to save lives Worldwide ”

Dexamethasone Clinical Trial 

The Recovery trials compared outcomes of around 2,100 patients who were randomly assigned to get the steroid, with those of 4,300 patients who did not get it.

The result suggest that one death would be prevented by treatment with Dexamethasone among every eight ventilated covid-19 patients. Landray said , and one death would be prevented among every 25 covid-19 patients that received the drug and are on Oxygen.

Among patients with novel coronavirus who didn’t require respiratory support, there was no benefits from treatment with Dexamethasone.

Horby said “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”

Easily available low cost steroid drug Dexamethasone 

Peter Horby said “This was included in the recovery trial because it’s  a readily available ,cheap and well understood drug and because there have been reports in the past of benefit in viral respiratory infections, but it’s been an area of huge cotrovery”

He added “Even at the time of SARS1 in 2003, steroids were used, but at the very different doses.Some of the stuies showed a harm from steroids in SARS , some said there’s possible benefits.  A meta-analysis in 29 different studies in SARS was inclusive. There’s also been inclusive result on MERS coronavirus and also influenza . So really it’s been a huge ongoing debates as to whether you should use steroids in patients with viral respiratory diseases”

The Oxford researchers said on Tuesday that they think this now should become a standard of care in the United Kingdom for Covid-19 patients requiring either Oxygen or Ventilation – nut in the meantime , the Recovery Trial continues to investigate other treatment approaches.

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