Life-saving coronavirus drug has been found. Researchers estimate that if the drug had been available in the UK from the start of the coronavirus pandemic up to 5,000 lives could have been saved. Because it is cheap, it could also be of huge benefit in poor countries with high numbers of patients.

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“Lead researcher Prof Martin Landray says the findings suggest that for every eight patients treated on ventilators, you could save one life. For those patients treated with oxygen, you save one life for approximately every 20-25 treated with the drug. “There is a clear, clear benefit. The treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient. So essentially it costs £35 to save a life. This is a drug that is globally available.”” Wonderful to hear that they’ve found an impactful, cheap, and readily available drug to help in all this.


Physician here: from my experience in the COVID ICU in a NY hospital we had people on solumedrol (generic name: methylprednisolone) which is another steroid and we had them on pretty high doses. In most cases I didn’t see a huge difference in those that got it and those that didn’t, but some did improve. That being said dexamethasone is a little more potent and I’m sure they used higher doses of dexamethasone than we did for solumedrol and this study had some nice results. Only downside to using the high dose steroids from my experience was having to put almost all our patients on insulin drips because their blood sugars were so damn difficult to control. Would be great to see dexamethasone utilized at my hospital and I’m sure it will be soon after additional ICU attendings review the trial. Edit: Thank you for all the awards, my first ones ever!


Awesome news but, please, please, *please* move this to the beginning of the article: >Prof Landray said, when appropriate, hospital patients should now be given it without delay, but people should not go out and buy it to take at home. >Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus – those who don’t need help with their breathing. I guarantee you hoarders are already trying to figure out how to stockpile this drug, which will serve no purpose but to allow people to die when it runs out where it is needed most.


This drug HAS been available since the start, and has been used. Although of course, it has not been used consistently and only in the course of RECOVERY has it been studied. Interestingly the dex arm is now closed to adults (with only children able to be started on it now). All those people saying big pharma will hike the price up, it’s doubtful it will increase considerbaly as it there is no patent on it, and is a widely made generic. It is used in control of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, whooping cough, to reduce inflammation in metastatic cancers to help with pain etc. With all steroids, there are certain risks associated (steroid induced hyperglycaemia, faltering growth, immunosuppression etc). As some have said, I hold my breath until the data has been reproduced and backed up (mostly by the REMAP-CAP trial among others). Finally, THIS WILL NOT BE GIVEN TO MILD CASES, as they are not high risk, those with severe symptoms/severe risk of complications or those admitted will be treated. Edit: as correctly pointed out, hyperglycaemia not hypoglycaemia apologies


It DOES NOT treat coronavirus. It treats one of its symptoms.