Oxford: A low-cost drug developed in the UK has reduced deaths from COVID-19 patients on ventilators, by a third in that country, scientists from Oxford University have claimed.
The drug, called dexamethasone, could help save the lives of those infected by the disease, and could be a potential cure for the novel coronavirus.
As part of the clinical trials set up to see the effectiveness of this drug in COVID-infected patients, over 11,500 patients were enrolled from over 175 British hospitals run by the National Health Service. Oxford University are now working to publish the full details of their clinical trial.
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and one of the Chief Investigators for the trial, said in an interview with the university: ‘Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. 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,” he added.
These patients were part of a clinical trial called RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) that looked at potential treatments for infected patients.
Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, one of the Chief Investigators, added in the same interview: ‘Since the appearance of COVID-19 six months ago, the search has been on for treatments that can improve survival, particularly in the sickest patients.
“These preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are very clear – dexamethasone reduces the risk of death among patients with severe respiratory complications,” he added. “COVID-19 is a global disease – it is fantastic that the first treatment demonstrated to reduce mortality is one that is instantly available and affordable worldwide.”