UK virologist urges UK anti-virus drug for the world

World | 17 Jun 2020 5:30 pm

Even though dexamethasone recommended by UK researchers only helps in severe coronavirus patients, “countless lives will be saved globally,” said Nick Cammack, a virus expert at the Wellcome Trust, a British charity that supports research.

“This is the dream,” because the drug has been used for decades for other conditions, said Cammack, who had no role in the study. “It’s very straightforward to make so there’s no reason this can’t be rolled out for the entire world.”

No information was given on side effects, but researchers said they used a low dose and for a short time, which is generally safe.

The study, led by the University of Oxford, was a large, strict test that randomly assigned 2,104 patients to get the drug and compared them with 4,321 patients getting only usual care.

The drug was given either orally or through an IV for 10 days. After four weeks, it had reduced deaths by 35 percent in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20 percent in those only needing supplemental oxygen. It did not appear to help less ill patients.

Researchers estimated that the drug would prevent one death for every eight patients treated while on breathing machines and one for every 25 patients on extra oxygen alone.-Photo: Sky News

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