Dexamethasone is a widely available steroid that has shown an improvement in survival rates of COVID-19 patients. This has been discovered by researchers in England. Dexamethasone is used to relieve inflammation and is used to treat certain types of arthritis, several allergies, and asthma.
Dexamethasone Increased The Survival Rate Of COVID-19
It is also used to treat certain types of cancer. This drug was found to cut deaths due to COVID-19 by up to one-third. The study was conducted in more than 6000 severely ill patients and more than 2100 received the drug. But how the treatment is beneficial for less severe patients are not found yet. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease expert said, “This is a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have.”
Dexamethasone is a cheaper and widely used steroid that can be effective in very severe forms of the COVID-19. It was found in the early 1960s and was often given low doses as an anti-inflammatory. It’s effect on our inflammation and the immune system makes it useful in fighting off the COVID-19. There are two types of COVID-19 patients. One set of people with COVID-19 shows no signs of the disease or they have mild symptoms such as dry cough, slight fever, or loss of taste and smell. In a small minority of patients, the symptoms are worse and patients need oxygen therapy or ventilation to help the lungs get oxygen into the body. These are the people for whom dexamethasone was shown to be effective.
In these patients, the body’s immune system over-reacts to the virus and mounts an attack on the cells that contain it. This is known as a cytokine storm, where chemicals called cytokines are released by cells of the immune system, causing excessive inflammation.
Dexamethasone steroids act on the immune system in response and reduce the cytokine storm. It also prevents the massive inflammation seen in the lungs and the heart which are responsible for severe respiratory problems in very ill patients.
In the early stages, the World Health Organization has advised against using steroids earlier in the course of illness because they can impede clearing the virus. It is due to the higher mortality rates in people who used steroids since they inhibit the body’s immune response to the virus. Researchers studied the effect of the drug in 2,100 patients and compared that to the outcomes in 4,000 patients who did not receive it.
The results show the biggest benefit was in those patients on ventilators, where dexamethasone reduced the risk of death by 12 percent from 40 to 28 percent. For those requiring oxygen, there was a 5 percent reduction from 25 to 20 percent.
“Dexamethasone also has a half-life of up to 54 hours to assure a therapeutic level of medication to treat ongoing inflammation,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital.
In this scenario, the US Food and Drug Administration revoked the emergency authorization for hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug promoted by President Donald Trump. Citing reports of heart complications, the FDA said the drugs pose a greater risk to patients than any potential benefits.