A new hope against Covid-19 comes from Great Britain. It is a cheap steroid drug that is readily available to the general public. It is the “cousin” of cortisol and cortisone, but has fewer side effects and for decades it has been used to treat rheumatic, dermatological, haematological and neoplastic diseases, up to respiratory disorders such as asthma.
Scientists have called the discovery (even though the drug has been in use since the 1960s) as a major step forward in the fight for the survival of thousands of seriously ill affected by the new coronavirus.
This was announced by the Minister of Health, Mart Hancock, who announced the immediate start of the administration of dexamethasone to patients suffering from the new coronavirus.
According to reports from Agi, in fact, a study would have shown that the sterody has served to save the life of “a third of the most serious cases”. The results are derived from an experiment carried out on 2 thousand patients, as opposed to other 4 thousand people assisted without the use of the drug, as the Republic specifies.
The data, developed by researchers led by a team from the University of Oxford, show that “40% to 28%” of patients undergoing lung ventilation would have been saved thanks to the steroid, which reduced deaths by 35%, while for those subjected to non-invasive oxygenation the deaths avoided thanks to the drug would have been equal to one fifth. These are preliminary but encouraging results.
The mechanism underlying the drug is the one already considered the most effective in the most severe cases of Covid-19 and counteracts the cytokine storm, that is the violent immune reaction that the body can release when it comes into contact with Sars-CovV-2. and which often leads to death. The steroid appears to be able to stop the immune storm before it devastates the organs of the affected patient’s body.
The potential of the steriode appears to have become evident about three months ago and by then Britain would have started to accumulate it. Its potential is also known in Italy, so much so that some hospitals have included it in the guidelines of possible treatments since March.
Furthermore, dexamethasone is a very cheap drug, which costs around 5 pounds (6 euros) and which can be easily obtained by the population: “Dexamethasone is cheap, available and can be used immediately to save lives all over the world
” said Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases at the Department of Medicine of Nuffield, University of Oxford. This would mark a big step forward in the search for useful drugs to fight the new coronavirus.
“Dexamethasone is the first drug to have been shown to improve survival with Covid-19 – said Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford – This is an extremely positive result”. And he added: “It could really be a breakthrough.”
The new drug seems effective in the fight against the new coronavirus and could fuel hopes related to the possibility of survival of the most seriously ill patients. All for the price of only 6 euros.