A study led by the University of Oxford, found that low-dose steroid dexamethasone treatment reduce the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators, and by a fifth for those on oxygen, according to the results released earlier Tuesday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described it as “the biggest breakthrough yet” in the global research effort to combat the coronavirus, the daily reports. He added that the UK had enough drug supplies to cope with the possibility of a second spike in hospital admissions.
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The trial of Oxford University’s principal investigator, Professor Peter Horby said when used to treat patients on ventilators with Covid-19, dexamethasone reduced deaths by about 35% and reduced the 20% risk of death in those who need oxygen. Horby said that if eight patients on ventilators were treated with the drug, one life could be saved, adding that the total cost of treating eight people would be just £ 40 ($ 50).
Speaking at the press briefing, he added that “60-odd” -year-old drug was very inexpensive, could be found on every pharmacy tablet in every hospital in the country, was the first drug to be shown to improve the survival of Covid-19.
The RESUME (Randomized Evaluation of Covid-19 Therapy) trial, conducted by a team from the University of Oxford, was launched in March to test six potential coronavirus treatments, including the lowest dose steroid treatment dexamethasone. Earlier this month the trial concluded that hydroxychloroquine – President Donald Trump claimed that it was taking no clinical benefit. A total of 11,500 patients participated in the trial through 175 hospitals during the height of the pandemic.
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A total of 2,104 patients received dexamethasone once daily for ten days and were compared with 4,321 who received usual care. In results released by the researchers on Tuesday, the drug reduced deaths by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth in patients receiving oxygen.
Based on these results, one death could be avoided for eight patients on ventilators and one life could be saved for 25 patients on oxygen, the researchers said.
Vallance said, “This is a revolutionary development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed to discover an effective treatment is truly remarkable.” During the press point Vallance recalled that the drug should not prevent people from taking coronavirus and has been shown to benefit those who may develop respiratory problems as a result of Covid-19.