FACTS

    University of Oxford researchers have announced that the steroid dexamethasone has been found to “improve survival by up to one-third among severely ill patients” when used as a COVID-19 treatment. The drug was given to over 2,100 patients in a randomized, controlled trial, and the results showed that death rates dropped by one-fifth among those on oxygen and one-third among those on ventilators. The cost of treating a patient is estimated to be around $6, and the drug is said to be the first shown to decrease the chances of death for COVID-19 patients.

    CRITICISM

    The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously cautioned against steroid treatments due to the fact that they suppress one’s immune system. They argued that while this could provide relief for a person’s lungs initially, by limiting an overactive immune system, a strong immune system would ultimately be needed to fight off the virus.

    SUPPORT

    Contrary to the WHO’s warnings, Dr. Anthony Fauci noted that the results of the trial proved that a hyper-active immune system would actually cause more longterm harm in those seriously ill. “Bottom line is, good news,” he said of dexamethasone. Martin Landray, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford University, said that “it is fantastic that the first treatment demonstrated to reduce mortality is one that is instantly available and affordable worldwide.” Head researcher and infectious-disease specialist Professor Peter Horby said that any patient in severe enough condition to be on oxygen or ventilators should now be given the drug as “standard care,” noting its inexpensiveness, availability, and life-saving abilities.

    “Significant reduction in mortality in those requiring oxygen or ventilation from a widely available, safe and well-known drug. Many thanks to those who took part and made it happen. It will save lives around the world.”

    Chris Whitty, chief medical officer of England
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