In data recently released from a large study, findings showed that a readily available, cheap steroid on the market significantly reduced the number of deaths in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 by as much as a third.
This is the first time that such therapy has shown the possibility of improving the survival odds with those patients who are the sickest with the virus.
It is important to note that the full data obtained has yet to be published or scientifically scrutinized. But may experts were quick Tuesday to embrace the encouraging results. The steroid in question is Dexamethasone, currently available for the use in treating conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and specific cancers.
Patrick Vallance, a chief scientific adviser in the UK government, referred to the study results as “tremendous news” as well as “a ground-breaking development in our fight against the disease. Other experts in the field weighed with the comment of “a very positive finding.” Although many are quick to remind that there is still a need for the drug to be validated, but all indications point to it being of significant benefit in the war on coronavirus.
The most encouraging findings of the study showed that for those patients who require the assistance of a ventilator, the death rate was reduced by 35% for those who were prescribed Dexamethasone. This would mean the prevention of one death for every eight patients on ventilators. There was the additional fact that those who needed supplemental oxygen but not to the point of being ventilated, death numbers were reduced by 20%.
For any patients that did not require additional oxygen, they showed no form of benefit from the drug. On June 8th, the research team conducting the study moved to stop the enrollment of patients for the dexamethasone study. They felt they had acquired enough data to consider the results valid.
One of the lead researchers in the study boldly stated: "Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19." He also offered that the drug should now be considered for standard treatment for those who contract coronavirus and, at some point, become dependent on oxygen supplementation.
The take away here is simple. Dexamethasone is an inexpensive drug currently available on the shelf and used by the public, and when added to the course of treatment for COVID-19 will save lives worldwide.
Should Dexamethasone be instituted in treatment immediately?