Is life-saving drug for coronavirus found?

Rodiano Bonacci
Июня 17, 2020

Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at Oxford and one of the chief investigators for the trial, said dexamethasone was the first drug shown to improve survival from Covid-19.

"Overall dexamethasone reduced the 28-day mortality rate by 17% (0.83 [0.74 to 0.92]; P=0.0007) with a highly significant trend showing greatest benefit among those patients requiring ventilation (test for trend p 0.001)".

Experts are hopeful about a new drug, dexamethasone, could reduce deaths among patients with severe cases of COVID-19.

Doctors in the United Kingdom will now begin using dexamethasone as the standard treatment for hospitalized coronavirus patients, Matt Hancock, Britain's health secretary, said.

The study involved giving 2,100 COVID patients low doses of dexamethasone and comparing them with 4,300 patients who were not given the drug.

"This is a (trial) 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 co-leading the trial, known as the RECOVERY trial. The results seen in the Oxford study make "perfect sense" with that notion, he said.

The Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy trial (RECOVERY) is a randomised clinical trial of over 11,500 patients across 175 NHS hospitals in the UK.

Until now, the only drug shown to help fight COVID-19 is remdesivir, an experimental drug from Gilead Sciences that blocks an enzyme the virus uses to copy its genetic material. The scientists working on the trial are looking to publish their results shortly and are already sharing their findings with regulators internationally.

The death rate of those on a ventilator who were given dexamethasone was reduced by around a third in comparison to the group given standard care. "Steroids are anti-inflammatory and can reduce inflammation, or the immune response in the lungs, or even the vessels around the lungs and other organs, including the heart, kidneys and liver, which is common with the virus".

"It is a major breakthrough", he said. He added that the drug should now become the standard treatment for patients with Covid-19 who need oxygen. "Steroids are CHEAP. And with more data made available, ICU docs are likely to employ in mechanically ventilated patients who are not improving". Yesterday, based in part on those results, the Food and Drug Administration revoked an Emergency Use Authorization for using hydroxychloroquine in those patients. "Dexamethazone is readily available and expensive and would be available for treatment on a global basis right away".

"Because we spotted the early signs of the potential of dexamethasone, we've been stockpiling it since March", he said in a video statement.

The drug, which is "instantly available and affordable worldwide" and is also a steroid, was found to reduce deaths in patients receiving oxygen by one-fifth and those on ventilators by one-third, according to preliminary results released Tuesday. "This is EXACTLY what we need, instead of a $1000 drug like remdesivir that is just marginally effective for shortening illness but not yet fully proven for mortality".

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