Common Steroid Significantly Reduces Risk Of Death Among Seriously Ill COVID-19 Patients, Preliminary Study Results Show

New York Times: Common Drug Reduces Coronavirus Deaths, Scientists Report
“In an unexpected sign of hope amid the expanding pandemic, scientists at the University of Oxford said on Tuesday that an inexpensive and commonly available drug reduced deaths in patients with severe Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. If the finding is borne out, the drug, a steroid called dexamethasone, would be the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients. Had doctors been using the drug to treat the sickest Covid-19 patients in Britain from the beginning of the pandemic, up to 5,000 deaths could have been prevented, the researchers estimated…” (Mueller/Rabin, 6/16).

Reuters: WHO moves to update COVID-19 guidance after ‘great news’ in drug study
“The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was moving to update its guidelines on treating people stricken with COVID-19 to reflect results of a clinical trial that showed a cheap, common steroid can help save critically ill patients. … ‘This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,’ WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement late on Tuesday. The agency said it was looking forward to the full data analysis of the study in coming days…” (Shields et al., 6/17).

Wall Street Journal: Dexamethasone Improves Survival in Severe Covid-19 Patients, Study Finds
“…U.K. regulators said they had immediately approved dexamethasone to treat all hospitalized Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen support based on the study results. In the U.S., an expert panel convened by the National Institutes of Health to make Covid-19 treatment recommendations will likely soon consider revising their guidelines in light of the U.K. study, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. … Oxford issued the study results in a press release, not yet in a peer-reviewed journal that provides the full data set that researchers who weren’t involved in the trial can review…” (Walker, 6/16).

Additional coverage of the preliminary study results is available from AP, Financial Times, Reuters, STAT, and Washington Post.

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