The University of Oxford has reported that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland scientists have made a breakthrough in the fight against the deadly Coronavirus by discovering that an existing drug called dexamethasone can help to cure infected patients.
According to an Oxford University news release issued on Tuesday, a total of 2104 patients were randomised to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for ten days and were compared with 4321 patients randomised to usual care alone.
Among the patients who received usual care alone, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41%), intermediate in those patients who required oxygen only (25%), and lowest among those who did not require any respiratory intervention (13%)
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and one of the Chief Investigators for the trial, was quoted in the statement saying, “Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. This is an extremely welcome result. The survival benefit 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.Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”
BBC reports that the UK government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the NHS will make dexamethasone available to patients.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated the discovery saying it is a remarkable British scientific achievement.