Steroid drug: A breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19
The inexpensive and widely used steroid called dexamethasone has shown to reduce the incidents of death in patients with severe respiratory complications caused by COVID-19. A low dose of 6 mg of the steroid administered in more than 2000 ventilated Covid-19 patients over 175 NHS hospitals in the UK resulted in a reduction in deaths.
Professor Peter Horby of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and one of the chief investigators in the trial said, “Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19 patients. This is an extremely welcome result. 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. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”
These preliminary results from the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 therapy) trial, although clear regarding the beneficial effect of dexamethasone in patients with severe respiratory complications, has reported no evidence of benefits in patients who were not under oxygen therapy.
More studies with dexamethasone treatment at different stages of the Covid-19 disease are needed to consolidate its use in patients suffering from Covid-19.
Full details of the study protocol and related materials are available at www.recoverytrial.net.
Luciana Aparecida Campos Baltatu, PhD
College of Health Sciences
Abu Dhabi University