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British experts find breakthrough drug for coronavirus patients

British experts find breakthrough drug for coronavirus patients

Researchers at Oxford announced that a cheap and widely available drug can cut the risk of death by a third in severely ill coronavirus patients.
17.06.2020 - 09:50

A cheap and widely used steroid called dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to be able to save the lives of coronavirus patients in what scientists said is a “major breakthrough” in the coronavirus pandemic.

THE DRUG IS BEING USED FOR ARTHRITIS AND ASTHMA

Trial results announced on Tuesday showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill coronavirus patients admitted to hospital.

The preliminary results, which have not been peer-reviewed, suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients with severe cases of the pandemic disease, said the researchers who led the trials.

They said they would work to publish the full details of the trial as soon as possible, and many scientists said they hope to be able to review the evidence for themselves soon, especially given the recent retraction of an influential coronavirus study.

Britain’s health ministry wasted no time, saying the drug had been approved for use in the state-run health service, export restrictions had been introduced and 200,000 courses of the treatment had been stockpiled.

“This is a (trial) result that shows that if patients who have coronavirus 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.