Many potential cures have been touted as the answer for the coronavirus, and steroids have been one of them. Now, researchers claim that a low-cost steroid may help save the lives of patients who are dependent on ventilators and supplemental oxygen to survive the infection.
The results have been drawn from a large clinical trial conducted recently. The drug, Dexamethasone, is a steroid and has been a common drug in medicine now for decades. The results from the clinical trial suggest that a third of the deaths were reduced due to the utilization of this drug.
The report, which was released on June 16, states that the patients who were taking supplemental oxygen had a reduced chance of death by 20%. Another thing to note about the report is that it says that the drug showed no particular benefit for the people who were not dependent on ventilators.
This report is significant because if it holds up to peer review and scrutiny, the steroid could be the first drug to reduce the risk of death in COVID-19 patients provably. This will be helpful in the current scenario as survivability is one of the biggest factors that drive any response to the pandemic, whether it is at a personal level or the governmental level.
In addition to the steroid, remedesivir, another drug has shown efficacy in shortening the recovery time of COVID-19 patients. The clinical trial was conducted in a controlled and cautious way. It involved 2,104 patients who took 6 milligrams of the steroid once a day for ten days.
The drug was administered either as a tablet or by intravenous injection. About 4,321 people were also there, who were not taking the drug. The study was stopped early when the supervising committee felt that the output data would be enough to determine the efficacy of the drug.
The results were promising. The results showed that the steroid could prevent one out of every eight deaths for patients on ventilators and one out of 25 deaths for patients requiring supplemental oxygen. The steroid is no sense a cure or a remedy for the virus; however, it could prove to be extremely helpful in a global pandemic.
As the global death rates begin to soar, being able to save a fraction of the patients helps save millions. There is some speculation as to the authenticity of the results. However, the researchers who conducted the study are confident that the report will hold up even against extreme scrutiny.
We hope that the results that the researchers got from the study hold for even larger sample sizes as the pandemic is worsening with time, and we need all the weapons that we can get at our disposal.