Why in News?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has welcomed the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom that shows dexamethasone can be a lifesaving drug for patients who are critically ill with Covid-19.
News in Detail
- According to preliminary findings shared with the WHO, dexamethasone was seen to reduce mortality by about one third for patients on ventilators, and for patients requiring only oxygen, and the mortality was cut by about one fifth.
- The benefit was only seen in patients seriously ill with Covid-19, and was not observed in patients with milder disease.
- It was an outcome of a WHO-administered RECOVERY trial — the largest global clinical trial — that is checking the ability of several re-purposed drugs to treat COVID-19.
- Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19.
- Dexamethasone is not an anti-viral but works to modulate the immune response of the body when confronted by a viral infection such as COVID-19.
What is dexamethasone?
- Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is similar to a natural hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It often is used to replace this chemical when the body does not make enough of it.
- It relieves inflammation (swelling, heat, redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); severe allergies; and asthma.
- Dexamethasone is also used to treat certain types of cancer.
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