Mumbai: In a huge development, The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the United Kingdom (UK) preliminary clinical trial results showing dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifelong for patients who are seriously ill with COVID-19.
According to preliminary findings shared with the WHO, for patients on ventilators, treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one-third, and for patients requiring oxygen only, cut mortality by about one-fifth.
The benefit was seen only in critically ill patients with COVID-19 and was not seen in patients who were suffering from the dairy disease.
WHO Director-General Drs, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said, “This is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in patients with oxygen or ventilator support requiring COV-19,”
“This is great news and I congratulate the Government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”
Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in many conditions, including inflammatory disorders and some cancers. It has been listed in the WHO model list of essential medicines since 1977 in several formats and is currently patented and inexpensive in most countries.
The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days. WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention. WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19.