By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 02 Sep 2020 • 20:46
Experts claim a cheap and readily available steroid could help reduce the risk of dying from coronavirus.
AVAILABLE for as little as €5.6 (£5), Hydrocortisone was found to reduce the risk of death in critically ill patients by 20 per cent. The anti-inflammatory drug, could save one in every 12 patients and will now be recommended for use in NHS coronavirus patients. England chief executive for the NHS, Sir Simon Stevens, said: “The NHS will now take immediate action to ensure that patients who could benefit from treatment with hydrocortisone do so, adding a further weapon in the armoury in the worldwide fight against Covid-19.”
Researchers from Imperial College London discovered that patients in intensive care who were administered hydrocortisone for seven days had a 93 per cent chance of a better recovery compared to patients who were not treated with the steroid. The merits of hydrocortisone were announced alongside analysis from seven other ongoing trials which involved three different types of steroids – including dexamethasone, which has already been found to reduce mortality and is widely used.
Other than the steroid drugs, Remdesivir has been shown to have a modest benefit in some patients. Convalescent plasma has also recently been touted by the Trump administration, however, experts say that further trials are needed to show that it works and is effective against the disease.
Professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Bristol, Jonathan Sterne, said: “Steroids are a cheap and readily available medication, and our analysis has confirmed that they are effective in reducing deaths amongst the people most severely affected by Covid-19.
The WHO said in its recommendations that the steroid drugs represented “an important reduction in the risk of death.”
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