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Oxford research points to effective remedy against COVID-19

The University of Oxford last week released the results of research into therapies against the pandemic disease caused by the new coronavirus. According to the results, the drug dexamethasone proved to be efficient in the treatment of patients with the disease, becoming the first effective remedy against COVID-19, according to science.

In the study, dexamethasone treatment reduced the mortality rate among patients who needed respirators by one-third. Among patients who only needed to receive oxygen, the reduction in mortality was approximately one fifth.

The study

The result is one of the findings of a university program called Recovery (Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy, or “randomized evaluation of therapies for COVID-19”).

The program has treated more than 11,500 patients from 175 different hospitals in the UK with several promising drugs , including azithromycin, dexamethasone and blood plasma of recovered people. In total, 2,104 patients were treated with doses of 6 milligrams of dexamethasone daily, administered once daily.

They were compared with another 4,321 patients who received only ordinary care at random. For patients on respirators, dexamethasone cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%; for those who received oxygen, the drug reduced the risk from 25% to 20%.

Impact

"Based on these results, a death would be prevented by treating about 8 patients on respirators, or by treating about 25 patients receiving oxygen," says the university. They may seem like timid results, but considering that the disease has already caused hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide, this potential for prevention is immense.

Among patients who have symptoms of COVID-19, it is relatively common that they need oxygen or even respirators. According to the BBC , if the drug had been used in the UK since the beginning of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.

The Recovery program is being carried out by the Nuffield Department of Population Health , the University of Oxford department focused on public health research. It is supported by the Nuffield Department of Medicine , and is funded by the University of Oxford with support from public agencies. Dexamethasone is the first remedy against COVID-19 whose efficiency has been scientifically proven.

The effective remedy against COVID-19

Dexamethasone is a well-known drug used to treat diseases such as rheumatism, asthma and, in combination with antibiotics, tuberculosis. For patients with milder symptoms, it is taken orally, as a pill; for those on respirators, it is administered intravenously.

A positive point of the drug is that it is cheap. In the opinion of a doctor heard by the BBC, ten days of treatment with dexamethasone cost about 5 pounds in the United Kingdom (about R $ 32 in the current quote).

It is the first drug whose effectiveness in reducing mortality from COVID-19 has been scientifically proven. Another potential candidate, remdesivir, was also evaluated by the Oxford study.

It has already been shown that it reduces the duration of symptoms of the disease from 15 days to 11, but there is still insufficient data to prove that it reduces mortality. In addition, unlike dexamethasone, remdesivir is a relatively new drug, and the price is still unknown.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already recognized the results of the study and celebrated the finding. However, it reinforces that people should not leave the house to buy the medicine. There is no evidence that it is beneficial for people with milder symptoms of COVID-19, who do not need help breathing.

In addition to drug research, the University of Oxford is also taking action on other fronts against COVID-19. In late April, the institution began testing a vaccine against the disease in humans.

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