Drug Breakthrough Significantly Prevents COVID-19 Deaths
Columbia University Professor Emeritus, Dr. David Figurski
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
(Disclaimer: The World Health Organization <WHO> has officially named the new coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes as COVID-19. Because the majority of people, including much of the press, commonly refer to the virus as “COVID-19,” to avoid confusion I use COVID-19 as the name of the virus in these posts.)
Research at the University of Oxford in England showed for the first time that a drug prevented a major fraction of deaths in severely sick patients with COVID-19.
Dexamethasone was found in a large clinical trial to cause a significant reduction in deaths. It can be prescribed as pills, and it is a common, readily available, and relatively inexpensive drug
A major problem after infection by COVID-19 is that the immune response of some individuals is too aggressive (often causing what’s called a “cytokine storm”) and can lead to death. Because dexamethasone is a steroid that dampens the immune response, the prediction was that it might help to prevent deaths by COVID-19.
The research showed that it does.
There are about 3 deaths for every 8 patients on ventilators. Dexamethasone treatment reduced those deaths by one-third. So, 1 death would be prevented for every 8 patients on ventilators. About 5 deaths occur in every 25 patients on oxygen only. Dexamethasone treatment reduced those deaths by one-fifth, or about 1 less death for every 25 patients on oxygen only. Dexamethasone treatment had no effect on patients not on ventilators or receiving oxygen only.
Given that a major fraction of the over 118,000 deaths in the US so far (at 6:00 pm ET on June 18, 2020) were on ventilators or oxygen only, dexamethasone treatment is predicted to prevent many deaths.
The UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said: “This is a ground-breaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable.”
Stay Safe and Healthy!
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(Photos compliments of contributor.)
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