Health

Common steroid has saved the lives of 1.4m Covid patients around the world, experts reveal 

Common steroid has saved the lives of 1.4m Covid patients around the world, experts reveal

  • A common steroid which costs around 50p a day can cut Covid deaths by a third
  • The drug was made available to patients on English hospital wards last June 
  • Steroid cuts death rates and hospital stays when combined with an arthritis drug

Using a common steroid to treat coronavirus patients has saved 22,000 lives in the UK and up to 1.4million worldwide, say health officials.

Figures from NHS England revealed the success of the discovery by Oxford University scientists about dexamethasone.

They found that the steroid, which costs around 50p a day, can cut deaths among the sickest patients by a third.

Dexamethasone, which costs around 50p a day, can cut deaths among the sickest patients by a third

Last month it was also revealed that the steroid cuts death rates and hospital stays when combined with the arthritis drug tocilizumab

Last month it was also revealed that the steroid cuts death rates and hospital stays when combined with the arthritis drug tocilizumab

The drug was made available to patients on English hospital wards last June just hours after the findings of a government-funded trial were reported.   

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘Thanks to the exceptional work of our researchers, NHS staff and patients, around one million lives may have been saved around the world.

‘Research that would usually take years produced answers in record time – with results that have reverberated across the globe.

‘Just as this virus has spread across borders, so too must the treatments and vaccinations that are humanity’s shared “exit strategy” from this pandemic.’

Last month it was also revealed that the steroid cuts death rates and hospital stays when combined with the arthritis drug tocilizumab.

Just one dose of the anti-inflammatory drug normally used to treat arthritis, dramatically improves a patient’s survival chances, when taken alongside dexamethasone.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the lives saved showed that the UK is ‘a world-class force in identifying and rolling out lifesaving treatments’ for both NHS patients and the global public.

He added: ‘Finding dexamethasone through our Government-funded Recovery trial was a true success story for British research and it’s fantastic to see the real impact it’s having saving lives here and around the world.’

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