COVID-19: UK RESEARCHERS DISCOVER DRUG THAT CURES PATIENTS

BY: Dayo Ojerinde

Researchers from Oxford University, United Kingdom have achieved a breakthrough in finding a drug to cure COVID-19.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, the researchers noted that dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available drug, could help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus.

The researchers said the drug was part of the world’s biggest trial testing of existing treatments to see if they also worked for coronavirus.

“It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth. Had the drug been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.

“The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and some skin conditions. And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus,” the researchers said.

The BBC reports that the UK government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the National Health Service will make dexamethasone available to patients.

The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said there was a genuine case to celebrate “a remarkable British scientific achievement.”

“We have taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak,” Johnson said.

Also, the UK Government, according to www.cityam.com, has given the NHS immediate authorisation to use the drug to reduce the coronavirus death rate on patients.

The UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said the new standard treatment would save thousands of lives.

He said, “Guided by the science, the UK is leading the way in the global fight against coronavirus – with the best clinical trials, the best vaccine development and the best immunology research in the world”.

“The results of the trial showed that the drug reduced the death rate of those on ventilators from 41 per cent to 28 per cent, and of those requiring oxygen from 25 per cent to 20 per cent. Based on the results, for every eight ventilated patients treated with the drug, one life would be saved.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Tuesday said it was aware of recent outcomes from a UK-Government funded clinical trial for COVID-19, but had not validated its use in Nigeria.

“The results support the use of dexamethsaone as a possible treatment to reduce the risk of death among COVID-19 patients, who require oxygen or mechanical ventilation. Please note that the Government of Nigeria has not validated or approved any treatment for COVID-19. In addition, the use of dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment has not been validated by the WHO.

“We are aware of ongoing clinical trials conducted by scientists in the UK and will work with our sister agencies to evaluate this emerging data on the use of dexamethasone. We will inform the general public on outcomes following scientific review and validation,” the NCDC said.

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