The UK experts found an existing life saving drug for coronavirus patients who are seriously ill.
Thet say say the low-dose cheap dexamethasone steroid treatment is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus. It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. Researchers estimate that if the drug had been available in the UK from the start of the coronavirus pandemic up to 5,000 lives could have been saved. The drug is already used since the early 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions. It must be considered because it appears that it helps stop some of the damage that can happen when the body's immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus. In the trial, lead by a team from Oxford University, around 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and were compared with nearly 4,000 who did not get the drug.
Patient on ventilator
"There is a clear, clear benefit. The treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient. So essentially it costs £35 to save a life. This is a drug that is globally available," lead researcher Prof Martin Landray declared. Patients across the world could benefit immediately. But dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who don't need help with their breathing.