As the COVID-19 pandemic has consistently stumped medical professionals and researches all over the globe as they search for a cure, a vaccine, and other answers, according to a recent study, evidence is pointing toward a common, readily available drug that could help reduce the deaths of patients hospitalized due to Covid-19 by about a third.
This discovery marks the first time that a therapy—of any kind—has been shown to potentially improve the odds of survival in the sickest of patients—not just those with mild to moderate symptoms.
While the full data of the study hasn’t been published—or event yet brought under the microscope for severe scientific scrutiny—the drug, known as dexamethasone, has been thought to embrace top-line results.
WHAT IS DEXAMETHASONE?
Dexamethasone is a widely available, popular drug that’s used for treating several of different conditions, including but not limited to conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, some cancers, asthma, and more.
Though this study has not yet been validated, researchers are already considering it a very positive finding as well as a ground-breaking development that could help the fight against this disease.
Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in covid-19—and what’s more is that it’s inexpensive, it’s readily available, and it can potentially be used to save lives across the world very soon.
The Study & Methodology
So, how exactly did researchers, scientists, and medical professionals stumble upon this finding? By testing theories in a randomly assigned study that would later be known as RECOVERY. This study ran until June 8, when researchers stopped enrolling patients on dexamethasone because they believed they had enough data to reach a clear result.
In this study, about 2,000 patients—2,014 to be exact—received six milligrams of dexamethasone once a day—either by intravenous inject or by mouth. Another set of patients—4,321 patients, to be precise—did not receive these treatments but did receive their usual care alone.
What did researchers discover?
For those covid-19 patients who needed to be on a ventilator, it was found that dexamethasone reduced the death rate by up to 35 percent. In those who needed oxygen—but not ventilators— the death rate was reduced by 20%. Both results, though different, were statistically significant.
This means that, for the patients who were ventilated, doctors would prevent one death by treating eight ventilated patients, and for those who need oxygen, doctors would need to treat 25 patients to save one life.
The study did not find any significant benefit in patients who didn’t require either oxygen or a ventilator. A separate section of this study found that hydroxychloroquine had no benefit in hospitalized patients, which, caused the Food and Drug Administration to revoke the emergency use authorization for using hydroxychloroquine in covid-19 patients.
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