Sci-Tech

Watch | What is dexamethasone?

A video explainer on dexamethasone, a steroid that has reduced mortality in patients with severe COVID-19

Scientists say a major breakthrough has been achieved in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Dexamethasone, a steroid has reduced mortality in patients with severe COVID-19. It is an inexpensive and a commonly available drug.

The use of this drug has shown improvement in survival among COVID-19 patients in U.K. It has reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third and patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

These observations were made in a clinical trial based in the UK called Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY (RECOVERY).

Also read: Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce mortality, RECOVERY trial finds

In the trial, around 2,100 patients were randomly assigned to get the steroid. This was compared with over 4,300 patients who did not get it.

The result of this suggested that one death would be prevented with the use of this drug among every eight ventilated COVID-19 patients. Similarly, one death would be prevented among every 25 COVID-19 patients that received the drug and are on oxygen.

Also read: Coronavirus | Avoid hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients with severe disease, says Health Ministry protocol

Dexamethasone was given either orally or through an IV. However, the drug was not beneficial to patients who are not on respiratory support.

It appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. The drug is widely used to treat diseases like lupus, arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions.

Also read: Dexamethasone | WHO says more understanding needed on steroid

In India, the drug retails for less than ₹10 for 10 ml and is made by several Indian manufacturers. However, Indian doctors advise cautious endorsement of the drug for COVID-19.

The study has also not yet been peer reviewed or published.

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Printable version | Jul 13, 2020 1:07:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/what-is-dexamethasone/article31859358.ece

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