dexamethasone - COVID-19 cure

In a ground breaking research conducted by the University of Oxford results showed the use of dexamethasone, a cheap and easily available anti-inflammatory steroid cuts the death risk by a third for those who have serious respiratory issues and have to be placed on ventilators. The drug also helped those who have to be put on oxygen because of respiratory problems.

UK government’s chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance described the results as “ground-breaking”. The Imperial College London has announced it will start human trial using the drug for a vaccine from this week.

Trials for a low dose use of dexamethasone were part RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trials testing a range of potential treatments for Covid-19, according to the University of Oxford.

As part of the ground breaking study conducted, 2104 patients received 6 mg of the drug once per day for ten days and were compared with 4,321 patients receiving usual care.

Those who received usual care, 28-day mortality was highest 41% in those who required ventilation followed by 25% in those who required oxygen and lowest 13% among those who did not require any respiratory intervention.

 “Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients…and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only…There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support”, the University said in a statement.

“Based on these results, 1 death would be prevented by treatment of around 8 ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone,” the university added.

Peter Horby, professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said: “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.”

Dexamethasone is easily available under the trading names of Decadron, Dexasone, Diodex, Hexadrol, and Maxidex. Dexamethasone has many uses in the treatment of cancer.  It is classified as a glucocorticosteroid. With formula C22H29FO5,  Dexamethasone is generally used for:

  • As an anti-inflammatory medication.  Dexamethasone relieves inflammation in various parts of the body.  It is used specifically to decrease swelling (edema), associated with tumors of the spine and brain, and to treat eye inflammation.
  • To treat or prevent allergic reactions.
  • As treatment of certain kinds of autoimmune diseases, skin conditions, asthma and other lung conditions.
  • As treatment for a variety of cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
  • To treat nausea and vomiting associated with some chemotherapy drugs.
  • Used to stimulate appetite in cancer patients with severe appetite problems.
  • Also used to replace steroids in conditions of adrenal insufficiency (low production of needed steroids produced by the adrenal glands).

“This is tremendous news today from the Recovery trial showing that dexamethasone is the first drug to reduce mortality from Covid-19. It is particularly exciting as this is an inexpensive widely available medicine”, Chief scientific adviser Vallance added.

“This is a ground-breaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable.”

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