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Dexamethasone Becomes First Drug to Show Efficacy in COVID-19 Treatment

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Conducted by researchers at Oxford University and part of a large Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapies (RECOVERY) trial that is assessing the efficacy of a wide range of drugs, the researchers assessed the use of the steroid in 2100 people.
Dexamethasone -
Results of a study released on Tuesday show that if common anti-allergy drug dexamethasone is given in low doses to patients battling serious COVID-19, a third of them can be saved from death.

Conducted by researchers at Oxford University and part of a large Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapies  (RECOVERY) trial that is assessing the efficacy of a wide range of drugs, the researchers assessed the use of the steroid in 2100 people.

The patients were chosen to randomly receive 6mls of the common drug in a single dose per day either taken orally through injection for ten days. In a statement, the university notes that results of dexamethasone treatment were compared with 4321 patients randomised in usual care for COVID-19 treatment.

Peter Horby, the lead investigator on the study said the survival benefit was high even in patients who are very sick requiring oxygen treatment which means that the drug can become the standard of care in these patients. However, this drug will require more evaluation to be enrolled for use among patients as findings are yet to be reviewed by other scientists.

Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood/hormone/immune system disorders, allergic reactions, certain skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, certain bowel disorders, and certain cancers. It is also used as a test for an adrenal gland disorder. According to medics, the drug decreases the body's natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.

Apart from dexamethasone, other drugs that have been studied for treatment include Ebola drug Remidsivir, anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine among others. Though they have been used in the treatment of patients, studies have found them not as effective with some finding the drugs to actually increase patient's risk of death.

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