Covid 19: Inexpensive dexamethasone becomes first life-saving drug

covid-19 drug

The spread of COVID-19 across the world has caused a lot of casualties. At the time of the writing, over 440K people have lost their lives to this pandemic. The virus is contagious and is showing no sign of going away anytime soon. However, researchers around the globe are hell-bent on finding a cure to it. In the hope of finding a cure, multiple drugs are being tested. And now we might just have got a major breakthrough in it. Researchers at Oxford University claim that dexamethasone can be used to lower the mortality rate in high-risk patients. 

Cheap steroid dexamethasone for Covid-19 Patients

The team of researchers led b Prof. Peter Horby, administered drugs to patients in about 2000 hospitals in the UK. The result was then compared against 4000 hospitals who were not given the drug. Per them, the risk of death reduced from 40% to 28% for patients on a ventilator. Similarly, the risk was cut from 25% to 20% for those in need of oxygen. This clearly shows the reduction in the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients after the use of dexamethasone.

19 out of 20 COVID-19 patients recover without having to be admitted. And even if people need to get admitted, after some time they successfully recover. However, out of all these, there will be such patients who will require oxygen or mechanical ventilation. These are high-risk patients. And dexamethasone works best on them. The drug apparently helps to stop the damage caused as a result of the immune system going into overdrive.

dexamethasone covid-19 drug

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How effective is this drug?

This research shows that dexamethasone saves the life of one out of every eight patients on a ventilator. And one out of every 20-25 patients treated with oxygen. Moreover, this low-dose steroid costs around £5 and needs to be administered for 10 days. 

Dexamethasone is available globally and has been in existence since the early 60s. It is used to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. This drug is an already proven medicine to treat people with a breathing condition. Thus, by giving the drug intravenously, the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients can be reduced. Furthermore, as the drug is available globally at a relatively cheap price, even poorer countries can reap its benefits. This drug, however, does not help patients with milder symptoms. 

Now, the world has two proper options to treat COVID-19 patients. Dexamethasone for high-risk patients. And remdesivir to reduce the duration of symptoms. Let’s hope that the world recovers faster now.