Dexamethasone: A ‘major breakthrough’ in COVID-19 treatment

The results from an ongoing trial of administering low doses of dexamethasone, a generic steroid drug, to COVID patients, is being described as a “major breakthrough” by scientists leading the UK-led clinical trial known as RECOVERY.

Data shows the drug has reduced death rates by around a third among those with the most severe cases of infection. The researchers suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients treated in hospital with the coronavirus disease.

“This is a result that shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the trial.

His co-lead investigator, Peter Horby, said dexamethasone — a generic steroid widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation — is “the only drug that’s so far shown to reduce mortality, and it reduces it significantly.”

“Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus which has killed more than 431,000 people globally.