Dexamethasone recently showed encouraging results in a large clinical trial in the UK. This powerful drug from the steroid family would have succeeded where chloroquine seems to have failed:reducing the risk of death in seriously ill patients. Across the Channel, the government has given the green light for this substance which could well become a basic treatment against Covid-19.
First of all, you should know that dexamethasone is a synthetic glucocorticoid hormone that has an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effect. However, its power is 40 more important than that of cortisol , a natural steroid hormone. As part of the Recovery clinical trial, researchers at the University of Oxford (UK) praised the merits of dexamethasone in the fight against Covid-19.
In a press release (PDF in English / 2 pages) published on June 16, 2020, those responsible for the trial are rather optimistic. According to them, dexamethasone is the first drug for which we observe an improvement in survival in the event of Covid-19. For researchers, one in eight deaths could be avoided thanks to the administration of this substance.
The Recovery trial included 2,104 patients, who were administered dexamethasone orally or intravenously. About ten days later, the researchers compared the results with those of 4,321 other patients who had not received this treatment. However, it turns out that the treatment made it possible to reduce mortality by a third in patients on artificial ventilation . However, treatment only reduced mortality by 1/5th in less severely affected patients. These were patients receiving oxygen via a mask but without intubation. In other words, dexamethasone would have very little effect on patients who do not require heavy respiratory assistance.
Given the results obtained by dexamethasone, it could well become a basic treatment against Covid-19. This is obviously a major step forward in the search for new ways to treat certain coronavirus patients. Intended for patients with severe lung disease, thanks to its anti-inflammatory power, dexamethasone is also an inexpensive product . Moreover, this substance is already commercially available. Thus, it is possible to use it to save lives quickly.
With the announcement of these results and the availability of the product, the UK government seems convinced. The latter has already gave the green light for the use of dexamethasone regarding the most serious Covid-19 cases.