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Cheap drug shows results in COVID patients: study

Dexamethasone helps those on ventilator recover

Indian doctors have said the reported success of dexamethasone — an inexpensive steroid that retails for less than Rs. 10 for 10 ml and is made by several Indian manufacturers — in saving the lives of COVID-19 patients on ventilators is good news for the country.

Scientists administering the WHO-administered RECOVERY trial, the largest global clinical trial that is checking the ability of several repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19, reported on Tuesday that 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.

“If the claims bear out in the published study, then this is great news,” Able Lawrence, Professor of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology at the Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, told The Hindu . “It is a cheaper option than tocilizumab.”

Based on these results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone, scientists said.

A scientific study with details on how the study was conducted and evaluations made isn’t yet available and the preliminary results were communicated via a press statement.

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