(WEHT) – A commonly used steroid may significantly reduce the risk of dying in the sickest coronavirus patients, according to researchers in the UK.
“In ventilated patients with covid-19 the drug Dexamethasone, a 10 day treatment of that, which is a tablet or an injection, reduces the risk of death by about 35%,” said Professor Peter Hornby, the Oxford study lead researcher.
While one outside expert called this a “breakthrough”, the findings are preliminary and still being compiled and have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal .
“If we treat 8 patients in intensive care with this drug, we’ll save one life and the total cost of treating all 8 patients is only about 40 pounds, so this is really remarkable. We’re extremely pleased with this result,” said Hornby. The cost would equal about $50.
Researchers say the steroid doesn’t work on everyone, saying the benefits are biggest for those on ventilators. In patients hospitalized who did not require oxygen because their lungs were working well, there’s no benefit.
They added there are still outstanding questions, and people treating COVID-19 at home should not take the steroid because of these results.
(This story was originally published on June 17, 2020)