COVID-19 'major breakthrough' as hailed by scientists
LONDON (Reuters) - A widely-used steroid called dexamethasone has become the first drug shown to be able to save lives among COVID-19 patients in what scientists claim is a “major breakthrough” in the coronavirus pandemic.
Trial results announced on Tuesday showed dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill of COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital.
The preliminary results suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in patients with severe cases of the pandemic disease, said the researchers who led the trials.
The researchers said they would work to publish the full details of the trial as soon as possible, with some scientists saying they wished to review the evidence for themselves.
Britain’s health ministry wasted no time in acting on the findings, saying the drug had been approved for use in the state-run health service, export restrictions had been introduced and Britain had stockpiled 200,000 courses of the treatment.