The drug lowers the fatality rate of ventilated and oxygenated patients from COVID-19 Credit: Representational image

The cheap and widely available drug Dexamethasone is being described as a “major breakthrough” by the UK led clinical trial team as a potential drug to stop COVID-19 deaths.

The trial was led by a group from Oxford University and around 2,000 patients who were hospitalised were given dexamethasone and then were contrasted and in more than 4,000 who didn’t get the medication. For patients on ventilators, it cut the danger of death from 40% to 28%. For patients requiring oxygen, it cut the danger of death from 25% to 20%. This led to the experts saying that the low-dose steroid treatment of the drug is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus.

The results of the research was released on June 16

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Around 19 out of 20 patients with COVID-19 recuperate without having to be admitted to hospitals. Of the individuals who are admitted to hospitals, most of them recover, however some may require assistance in the form of oxygen or mechanical ventilation. These are the high-risk patients for whom dexamethasone seems to help. The drug does not appear to help patients with milder symptoms of COVID-19.

The medication is as of now is already in use to lessen inflammation in a range of different conditions, and apparently, it helps stop a portion of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it attempts to fend off the viral infection. This reaction by the body is called a cytokine storm which can be very deadly.

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This is actually the first drug that has proven to cut down mortality rates from COVID-19 which is not an expensive drug. This means that this drug can be accessed by patients across the country regardless of their financial conditions.

Lead researcher Prof Martin Landray even stated that 10 days of dexamethasone treatment costs about Rs 480 per patient. So according to him a mere sum of Rs 3,359 (approximately) is enough to save a life.

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Dexamethasone has been utilized since the early 1960s to treat a wide scope of conditions. This includes rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. Half of all coronavirus patients who require a ventilator don’t survive the process. Hence, cutting that chance by a third would have a major effect. The medication is given intravenously in intensive care, and in tablets for less seriously sick patients.

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