Researchers from The University of Oxford reported on Tuesday that Dexamethasone, a steroid used to treat inflammation, was effective in reducing death rates in patients with severe coVID-19 by up to 30 percent.
In the randomized trial of coVID-19, 2,104 inpatients in the UK healthcare system received 6 mg of dexamethasone daily for 10 days, compared with 4,321 inpatients who received routine treatment.
The researchers calculated that the 28-day mortality rate for those receiving routine treatment was, in order, those requiring ventilator support (41%), those requiring oxygen only (25%), and those requiring no adjuvant therapeutic intervention (13%).
Among hospitalized patients treated with dexamethasone, mortality in the ventilator group was reduced by nearly a third, and in the oxygen group by a fifth. There was no significant gain in patients who did not require assisted respiratory therapy.
According to the researchers, dexamethasone could save one more life in eight ventilator patients and one more in 25 on oxygen.
Oxford University Professor Martin Landray, who co-led the study, said dexamethasone could save the lives of those who needed ventilators and oxygen to treat severe cases, and in a very low-cost way.
Compared with other drugs, it is hard to replace them in terms of cost performance.
Nearly 50 pounds would treat eight patients and save one more.
Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford, who co-led the study, said dexamethasone was the only drug currently “significant” and effective in reducing coVID-19 mortality.
What’s more, the drug is cheap and can immediately save lives around the world.