A clinical trial in Great Britain has found that a cheap, widely available drug reduces deaths from coronavirus in severely ill patients on ventilators by one-third, which researchers hailed as a significant breakthrough.
The drug, a steroid called dexamethasone, was found to reduce deaths among coronavirus patients on ventilators by one-third and by one-fifth among patients receiving oxygen only. There was no benefit among patients not on ventilators or receiving oxygen.
"Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19," said Peter Horby, a professor at the University of Oxford and one of the chief investigators of the trial. "This is an extremely welcome result."
"Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide," he added.