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.
While our president has been touting the use of an unproven malaria drug that he allegedly took himself for ten days for no apparent reason, authorities in the United Kingdom have been stockpiling dexamethasone after believing it showed early promise in treating severely ill COVID-19 patients.
Deaths in the dexamethasone arm were reduced by one-third (RR 0.65, 95% CI 0.48-0.88, P=0.0003) among patients receiving mechanical ventilation, and by one-fifth (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.67-0.96, P=0.0021) among patients requiring oxygen versus patients receiving usual care, according to a statement from the study's authors. There was no benefit for patients who didn't need help breathing as a result of their illness.
It should only be taken as exactly described by your doctor.
Full data from the study have not been published or subjected to scientific scrutiny.
Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the United Kingdom from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved, researchers say. It is known to be used to treat inflammations and conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, lupus, allergic reactions and skin conditions.
Scientists have hailed a cheap steroid as a "major breakthrough" in the fight against Covid-19 after it was found to reduce deaths by up to a third among patients suffering the worst effects of the virus.
Based on these results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone, scientists said.
And it could be of huge benefit in poorer countries with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.
From the start of the pandemic in March, researchers have focused on two different stages of Covid-19, which will likely require very different interventions.
The study team believes that the steroid reduces the damage inflicted on the body by "cytokine storms" that occur in some severely ill patients.
Studies that are testing other medicines may now need to incorporate the use of the drug, which could complicate analyzing the results. Presently, over 100 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are in various stages of development, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO).