The latest drug that could help the world win the fight against COVID-19 is one that’s been around all along.
The potentially life-saving drug is Dexamethasone, a low-dose generic steroid treatment that’s been around for over 50 years.
According to medical experts in the United Kingdom, the commonly used drug was found to have cut the risk of mortality in COVID-19 patients on ventilators, or those with severe symptoms, by a third.
Some of the most severe symptoms of COVID-19 include shortness of breath, chest pain, loss of speech, inability to move, or severe respiratory distress.
Since dexamethasone is widely available and affordable in most countries, this latest discovery could prove valuable for countries still struggling with the burden of steadily rising cases.
Dexamethasone and COVID-19: How Does it Work?
In use since the 1960s, Dexamethasone has been proven to reduce inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
UK experts observed that low doses of the generic drug helped lessen deaths in those with severe cases of COVID-19.
They noted how the drug can help control the damage caused by the cytokine storm, a hyper-active immune response commonly seen in those with COVID-19.
The Clinical Trial: Dexamethasone and COVID-19
Though the findings are preliminary and pending peer reviews, experts are hailing the clinical trial a breakthrough.
For the clinical trial, researchers from Oxford University observed 6,000 patients. Of this number, 4,000 were given standard hospital treatment without dexamethasone, while the other 2,000 were given the steroid along with other types of treatment.
They found that treatment cut the risk of death by 28% (from 48%) in patients on ventilators and by 20% (from 25%) in patients needing oxygen.
These findings prompted researchers to recommend that hospital patients be treated with the drug as soon as possible. But of course, as with any new discovery, more time and research are needed to cement these findings.
So far, dexamethasone does not appear to address milder cases of coronavirus.
The Latest COVID-19 Treatments
Another promising drug when it comes to speeding up recovery from COVID-19 is Remdesivir. But unlike Dexamethasone, this drug isn’t as widely available. Favipiravir, a drug from Japan, has also been found to improve symptoms faster.
Other drugs used to address COVID-19 symptoms are hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. But recent reports show these drugs come with a high risk of heart disease or even, death. So healthcare professionals administer this treatment with care.
Convalescent Plasma Therapy has also been found effective in reducing recovery time. This treatment involves extracting plasma from those who have recovered from COVID-19 and then using it to treat those still battling the condition.
So far, there is no confirmed vaccine or cure for COVID-19. But these latest discoveries offer hope and encouragement that the search will someday be over.
Find more updates and information on COVID-19, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.