Big breakthrough: British scientists find a drug that cuts Covid-19 death rate

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Jun 16, 2020, 06:36 PM(IST)

A 3D-printed coronavirus model is seen in front of the words coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on display in this illustration taken March 25, 2020 Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Dexamethasone, which is given either via injection or as a tablet, becomes the first drug proven to treat the incurable viral disease.

Scientists in the UK have discovered a cheap and widely available drug called dexamethasone for COVID-19 patients that can save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with coronavirus.

The drug, dexamethasone, reduced death rates by a third for patients on ventilators, and by a fifth for patients needing oxygen.

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Dexamethasone is given either via injection or as a tablet, becomes the first drug proven to treat the incurable viral disease.

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The steroid prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation, a nasty symptom of coronavirus infection that makes breathing difficult. 

According to the reports, Daily doses of dexamethasone could prevent one in eight ventilated patient deaths and save one out of every 25 patients requiring oxygen alone, the team said.

It was first discovered in 1957 and is commonly prescribed to patients with allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis and some types of cancer.

“This is a result that shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the trial.

His co-lead investigator, Peter Horby, said dexamethasone - a generic steroid widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation - is “the only drug that’s so far shown to reduce mortality - and it reduces it significantly.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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