The corona scare has changed all our lives drastically. Simple activities that we would participate in unconsciously on a daily basis now require quite a lot of apprehension.
For months, medical experts, scientists, and renowned institutions across the globe have been looking for a vaccine or a treatment for the same.
The novel coronavirus has mutated several times and is yet to stabilize with only a particular list of symptoms being attributed to it. There have been multiple attempts of testing vaccines and treatments of various sorts by different countries globally without much success.
Though the trials are still on for the vaccine, the United Kingdom seems to have made a major breakthrough in the process of treating COVID-19.
The mortality rate for this disease has been relatively low compared to other pandemics in the past. With this cheap and widespread drug, it can be further reduced.
Dexamethasone – The Life-Saver?
Dexamethasone is a low-dose steroid treatment that has been around for quite some time now. It was initially a part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to check if it also works for the coronavirus. The results have been quite successful.
It cuts the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and by a fifth for the ones on oxygen. An experiment conducted by a team from Oxford University compared 2000 patients who were given the dose to 4000 of them who weren’t.
The reduction of risk of mortality rate for patients on the ventilators and oxygen respectively were –
- From 40% to 28%
- From 25% to 20%
Thus, if the UK would have introduced this dosage as a part of the treatment in the initial stages of the pandemic, around 5000 patients could have been saved, according to the researchers.
Also Read: Why Is Tamil Nadu Govt. Busy Changing Names Of Places Amidst Surge In COVID-19 Cases?
Availability Of The Drug
Dexamethasone is an extremely common drug that is available widely at a cheap rate. It is often used for reducing inflammation as a symptom in other diseases like arthritis.
The preliminary results of the trials have suggested that this drug should be introduced as a standard procedure of treatment for severe COVID 19 cases.
While researchers have announced that the complete results of the trial will be published shortly, various scientists have expressed their wish to review the evidence for themselves.
This wonder-drug would be used for severe cases, helping the body heal after it undergoes its overdrive mode to fight off the novel coronavirus.
Often the cytokine storm – which is the overreaction of the body to the virus proves to be more fatal. However, this drug will not be of any help for patients with mild symptoms.
The treatment would comprise of a 10-day dosage of the drug, costing 5 pounds per patient. That is quite a nominal cost to pay for saving a life at this point.
Martin Landry, an Oxford Professor who was co-leading this trial called the RECOVERY trial said –
“This is a (trial) result that shows that if patients with COVID-19 are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost.”
This is the same trial that had rejected the use of hydroxychloroquine due to the high risks of fatalities and heart problems related to it.
The UK Government has already stockpiled 200,000 courses of this drug and has said that the National Health Service will make it available to the patients as soon as possible. They have also imposed export restrictions on the drug citing that the drug has been approved for state-run health services.
With this drug, we can probably get a slight peek at the light at the end of the tunnel. It is by far the most successful treatment for the novel coronavirus – one that is easily available and affordable at the same time.
This will be extremely effective, especially in poorer countries. We hope that this is just the beginning of finding many more successful medical solutions to this pandemic.
Image Credits: Google Images
Sources: BBC, Times Of India, NDTV
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