An inexpensive steroid called Dexamethasone has quickly emerged as a highly effective therapy treatment for Covid-19 patients. UK scientists have pioneered a large scale drug testing program, the results of which have proven to have saved the lives of 22,000 patients in the country, and an estimated 1 million individuals worldwide. 

The study, aptly called Recovery, is the world’s largest randomized drug trial aimed at evaluating the suitability of a variety of drugs administered to help in the treatment of Covid-19 patients. The trials began in March 2020 and have since been carried out by medical professionals as part of the treatment for patients in hospitals across Britain. 

According to Oxford University infectious disease specialist Peter Horby, researchers began the drug trials in Wuhan. However, the study was put to a halt after heavy lockdown restrictions saw the infection rate dwindling in China. 

But as the number of cases soared in Europe, Horby and his team collaborated with Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology to resuscitate Recovery back on its feet. 

Astounding results were seen in less than 100 days after the program commenced. Dexamethasone showed much promise for improved survival chances in Covid-19 patients. The widely available and inexpensive steroid was able to reduce the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators and an amazing fifth for those receiving oxygen therapy. 

Although Britain was criticized for its slow response to the pandemic, the Recovery drug trial was lauded and scientists involved in the research were celebrated for their efforts, The Guardian reported.

“It’s clear that dexamethasone has had a big impact. A million is a big number … It’s an estimate that could well be lower than that or higher than that. We don’t know," noted Horby. 

However, the scientists of the Recovery program emphasized on a critical component--the reduced accessibility of low-and middle-income countries to oxygen and ventilators. They added this fact is key to getting a more accurate reading of the lives saved by using dexamethasone.

“I think it’s made clear in the paper that there’s a lot of assumptions, and more work is really needed to be clear about how the benefits translate in different settings,” said Horby.

oxygen-502887_960_720 oxygen for covid patients pixabay