‘Major breakthrough’ as UK scientists find life-saving coronavirus drug

08:02 PM | 16 Jun, 2020
‘Major breakthrough’ as UK scientists find life-saving coronavirus drug

LONDON – Results from ongoing clinical trials in the UK showed on Tuesday that a low-cost and widely available drug, Dexamethasone, can save lives of patients severely ill with novel coronavirus.

The trial led by a team of Oxford University proved that administering low doses of the steroid decreased death rates by third for patients on ventilators and by fifth for patients on oxygen.

The drug, which is part of world’s biggest trial experimenting existing treatments to see if any works for the deadly virus, appears to help high-risk patients as it does not yield results when given to patients with mild symptoms.

The scientists have called it a “major breakthrough” besides asking for immediately using the drug to treat patients suffering with coronavirus that has killed over 400,000 people in the world.

"This is a result that shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor who is co-leading the trial.

Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: "This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality - and it reduces it significantly. It's a major breakthrough." "There is a clear, clear benefit," he said.

He revealed that the dose is given to patients up to 10 days and its costs about £5 per patient. "So essentially it costs £35 to save a life. This is a drug that is globally available."