DUBLIN — A steroid called dexamethasone should be given to patients affected by Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, British researchers reported on Tuesday.
Tests on 2,104 patients showed that low doses of the drug cut deaths by a third among patients on ventilators and by a fifth among those receiving oxygen, findings described by the researchers as a “major breakthrough” that “will save lives.”
“One death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone,” the research team, which is testing a range of drugs on 11,500 Covid-19 patients at 175 British hospitals, said in a statement.
Martin Landray of the University of Oxford, one of the trial’s leaders, said that dexamethasone, a drug in use since the 1960s to treat inflammations and conditions such as asthma, could prove a “remarkably low cost” means of combatting the coronavirus pandemic.
“The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment,” Landray said.
Landray’s University of Oxford colleague Peter Horby described dexamethasone as “the first drug to be shown to improve survival in Covid-19.”
There is no vaccine against the new coronavirus, which has infected more than 8 million people worldwide – going by official figures – since spreading from central China in late 2019. More than 430,000 deaths have been confirmed among people who have tested positive for the virus.Show