While scientists around the world are rallying to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine, a breakthrough has been made in the area of death-preventing medicine. According to a recent report by the Independent, scientists taking part in the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 therapy (RECOVERY) study, have announced their discovery of a key weapon in the worldwide battle against Covid-19.
Dexamethasone, which is a cheap steroid, has been discovered to significantly reduce the mortality rate of Covid-19 patients suffering from serious respiratory complications. Though the steroid does not have an effect on people who don’t require respiratory assistance, it can save the lives of those who rely on administered oxygen or ventilators to breathe.
The article cited a statement made by one of the researchers taking part in the study: “Based on these results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.”
Spearheaded by Professor Peter Horby and Professor Martin Landray, the result of the trial conducted on 2104 patients, showed that in ventilated patients, the death risk was brought down by one third, while in patients only on oxygen, the death risk was reduced by one-fifth.
The Independent report shared a statement by Mr Landray, who shared his enthusiasm over the drug’s effectiveness and affordability. “Covid-19 is a global disease–it is fantastic that the first treatment demonstrated to reduce mortality is one that is instantly available and affordable worldwide,” he said. “It costs in the order of £5… for a complete course of treatment in the NHS, and substantially less – probably less than one dollar – in other parts of the world, for example in India.”