A drug that is cheap and available worldwide has been found in the UK and can help save lives of patients who are critically ill with coronavirus.
The drug is dexamethasone and is a low-dose steroid treatment which UK experts say is a major breakthrough in the fight against the virus.
The trial of the drug was part of the world’s biggest trial of testing existing treatments to see how they work with coronavirus and what effect it has on patients suffering badly.
It was recorded that the drug had cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and a fifth for those on oxygen. Researchers had said that if the drug was used at the start of the outbreak then around 5,000 lives could have been saved.
The UK Government has said that they have 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and dexamethasone will be made available by the NHS to patients.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in the daily briefing that it was an incredible breakthrough for british science, adding: “We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.”
Around 19 out of 20 patients with Covid-19 recover without being admitted to hospital. For those admitted to hospital - most recover but are in need of oxygen or a ventilator. These are the people that dexamethasone helps.
The drug is used to reduce inflammation in conditions such as arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions.
It helps stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system tries to fight off the virus.
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