Dexamethasone trial result most important so far, says English health chief

Modesto Morganelli
Июня 16, 2020

While a fever and cough have seemed to be the early warning signs of COVID-19, new research shows nearly half of hospitalized patients experience a host of neurological problems.

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

There are now no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus which has killed more than 431,000 globally.

Researchers have begun to evaluate the frequency and type of neurological complications experienced by COVID-19 patients hospitalized at Northwestern Medicine, how well individuals respond to treatment and whether these problems are temporary or permanent.

The mortality rate of those who end up on a ventilator is above 40%, but this was reduced by a third among people prescribed dexamethasone.

In fact, headaches, dizziness, strokes, weakness, decreased alertness or other neurological symptoms can appear before the more commonly known symptoms of infection with the new coronavirus (known as SARS-COV-2), the researchers said.

In patients who needed to be on a ventilator, dexamethasone reduced the death rate by 35%, meaning that doctors would prevent one death by treating eight ventilated patients.

"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", Horby said. "Dexamethasone is low-priced, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide", he added. "This is an extremely welcome result", chief investigator Peter Horby, an emerging infectious diseases professor at the University of Oxford, said in a statement. But a study in patients who needed oxygen showed no benefit from a similar drug, although another arm in sicker patients in continuing.

"It has been a tremendous collaborative effort, and we're now focused on making large quantities of these promising antibodies for clinical trials", says co-lead author Thomas Rogers, MD, PhD, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Immunology & Microbiology at Scripps Research, and assistant professor of Medicine at UC San Diego.

Researchers at the University of Oxford announced Tuesday that they had found the first proven life-saving coronavirus treatment, after a clinical trial of dexamethasone, a low-priced steroid treatment, cut the risk of death by one-third for coronavirus patients on ventilators and one-fifth for those on oxygen.

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More than 11,500 patients from 175 NHS hospitals have been enrolled on the Recovery trial since it was set up in March to test a range of potential coronavirus treatments.

Oxford University has been placed number 1 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for the third year running, and at the heart of this success is our ground-breaking research and innovation. Over 4,31,000 people have lost their lives around the world due to coronavirus infection in the past many months.

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