Study data shows that a low-cost drug called dexamethasone can reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, Oxford University announced Tuesday.
In the large-scale British RECOVERY trial, conducted by a team of scientists from Oxford, patients administered six milligrams of dexamethasone a day generally fared better than those who just received usual care, according to the press release.
The drug achieved a one third reduction in mortality in patients on a ventilator, while it reduced deaths by a fifth in patients just receiving oxygen. It made no difference among those who didnt need any respiratory intervention.
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid drug used to treat a range of diseases and conditions, including allergic reactions, anemia and brain swelling.
Oxfords Peter Horby, one of the chief investigators for the trial, noted that its the first drug to show improved survival in COVID-19
“The survival benefit [of dexamethasone] 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 inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide,” he added.
According to the Oxford statement, dexamethasone could prevent about one death for every eight ventilated patients.
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