>For patients on ventilators it cut death risk from 40% to 28%. For patients needing oxygen it cut death risk from 25% to 20%.
>Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: “This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough.”
This is huge.
Not to mention the treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient.
This is brilliant news for so many reasons.
1) It’s a drug that’s been around for decades, so no worries about companies trying to patent and price gouge
2) It’s very cheap, so poorer countries will still be able to reap the benefits, and it will also be cheaper for nations to help each other out
3) The side-effects are known. The problem with new or niche treatments, which greatly delay their use among the general population, is that we have to work out what the side-effects are. Knowing this already means we don’t have to wait as long. These trials have been going on since March, so for 3 months now, but that’s barely any time at all in the world of pharmaceutical testing. Now we can start using it on a mass scale.
4) The supply is plentiful, and whilst those supply lines will now be stretched as countries rush to acquire the drug it it shouldn’t take too long for manufacturing to catch up. It’s cheapness helps here.
5) Of course, the main reason it’s brilliant news is that it will save thousands upon thousands of lives by cutting deaths among the most dangerously ill by 1/3.
At last we’re actually making big leaps forward in treating this thing!
I work in healthcare and wrote a systematic review on the use of steroids in COVID-19 patients back in April. Back then the info was scarce and all I could deduce was that they can be beneficial in patients who are critically ill as they can reduce the inflammation leading to severe lung damage. However in patients who are not critical, they work the other way as they weaken the immune system leading to a longer recovery period.
I am glad it turned out that they work. We just have to replicate the results in other parts of the world to solidify the treatment.
£5 – that’s $5000 for any Americans reading
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators, and for those on oxygen it cut deaths by a fifth.