Dexamethasone can be life saving for critically ill COVID19 patients

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Clinical trial results show
Dexamethasone can be life saving
for critically ill COVID19 patients
These steroids are already being routinely used in the
management of critically ill patients in ICU in Pakistan

The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO. The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with COVID-19, and was not observed in patients with milder disease.

Dexamethasone, it may be mentioned here is a steroid preparation and these steroids are already being used routinely in the management of critically ill patients in Intensive Care Units in Pakistan and many other countries. The above statement is from the results of a just completed trial in UK and it should be looked into in that perspective.

According to the press release, “This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is great news and I congratulate the Government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”

Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations, and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.

The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days. WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention? WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19.

The findings reinforce the importance of large randomized control trials that produce actionable evidence. WHO will continue to work together with all partners to further develop lifesaving therapeutics and vaccines to tackle COVID-19 including under the umbrella of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.

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