A ray of hope emerged on the horizon yesterday, as scientists announced a major breakthrough in the search for a cure of COVID-19, as researchers at Oxford University declared that they found a drug that can save a third of patients.
Dexamethasone, a steroid that has been around for decades, has become the first medicine that had proved to reduce the death rate among hospitalised patients.
A scientist who led a British trial of the drug, Professor Peter Horby, said at a media briefing on Downing Street that treating eight people with the drug could save one life at £40 (N20, 400).
It could save up to 35 per cent of patients relying on ventilators for critically ill persons and reduce the odds of death by a fifth for all patients in need of oxygen at any point in time.
Dexamethasone, first created in the 1950s, is usually used to treat ulcerative colitis, arthritis and some types of cancer. It is already licensed and proven to be safe, can be used for patients immediately and is a generic drug, meaning it can be manufactured cheaply and massively.
Results of the Recovery trial, which involved 6,000 COVID-19 patients and led by Oxford University scientists, suggested that the steroid could prevent death in one in eight ventilated coronavirus patients and one in 25 on breathing support.