A cheap steroid has become the first life-saving treatment in the Covid-19 pandemic, described by scientists as a major breakthrough and raising hopes for the survival of thousands of the most seriously ill.
Dexamethasone is cheap, available from any pharmacy, and easily obtainable anywhere in the world. Investigators said the drug was responsible for the survival of one in eight of the sickest patients – those who were on ventilators – in the Recovery trial, the biggest randomised, controlled trial of coronavirus treatments in the world.
“It is the only drug so far shown to reduce mortality and it reduces it significantly,” said Peter Horby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield department of medicine, at the University of Oxford, and one of the chief investigators of the trial. “It is a major breakthrough, I think.”
Prof Martin Landray, his co-chief investigator said the sickest patients could begin to be treated with the drug immediately. “The search has been on for a treatment that actually reduces the risk of dying. There hasn’t been one until today.
“This is a drug that is globally available. This is not an expensive drug. That is immensely important.”
A total of 2,104 patients were chosen at random to receive 6mg of dexamethasone once a day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for 10 days, and were compared with 4,321 patients chosen at random to continue with normal care alone. Among the latter group of patients, 28-day mortality was highest in those who required ventilation (41%), intermediate in those who required oxygen only (25%), and lowest among those who did not require any respiratory intervention (13%).
Image Credit: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian
News This Week
Study suggests people who have had COVID-19 benefit from vaccination, even if they’ve delayed it. Immunity from COVID-19 appears to gather strength with more time between vaccination and infection, a new laboratory study from researchers at [...]
The incorporation of exotic DNA from wild relatives into wheat results in a remarkable yield increase of up to 50%, even in hot weather, surpassing elite lines without these genes. Amid a year of [...]
Australia has become the first country to recognise psychedelics as medicines, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration took researchers by surprise and approved the psychedelic substances in magic mushrooms and MDMA for use by people [...]
In a new study, scientists with the University of Florida have found that a combination of silver nanoparticles and antibiotics is effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The researchers hope to turn this discovery into viable [...]
Peritoneal cancer is difficult to treat and has a poor survival prognosis. But a new and effective nanomedicine delivery system is offering some hope. The company is called NaDeNo and is well underway with [...]
According to a new study by researchers at Penn Medicine, ketamine, which is well-known as an anesthetic and is becoming increasingly popular as an antidepressant, dramatically reorganizes activity in the brain, almost as if [...]
A new immunotherapy releases cancer-killing cytokines only within the tumor. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have developed a new T cell-based immunotherapy that selectively targets cancer cells, producing a powerful anti-cancer cytokine [...]
An AI was tasked with creating proteins with anti-microbial properties. Researchers then created a subset of the proteins and found some did the job. An AI has designed anti-microbial proteins that were then tested [...]
Treating cancer with combinations of drugs can be more effective than using a single drug. However, figuring out the optimal combination of drugs, and making sure that all of the drugs reach the right [...]
By one unique metric, we could approach technological singularity by the end of this decade, if not sooner. A translation company developed a metric, Time to Edit (TTE), to calculate the time it takes for professional [...]
Phase transition in early universe changes strength of interaction between dark and normal matter. Dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries of modern physics. It is clear that it must exist, because without [...]
Summary: Researchers have developed a new family of nano-scale capsules capable of carrying CRISPR gene editing tools to different organs of the body before harmlessly dissolving. The capsules were able to enter the brains of [...]
An enzyme that defends human cells against viruses can help drive cancer evolution towards greater malignancy by causing myriad mutations in cancer cells, according to a study led by investigators at Weill Cornell Medicine. The [...]
Using a mouse model, Japanese researchers unleash the likely mechanism of action of Actinidia arguta (sarunashi) juice on lung cancer development. Lung cancer is a leading cause of death in Japan and across the [...]
When used as wearable medical devices, stretchy, flexible gas sensors can identify health conditions or issues by detecting oxygen or carbon dioxide levels in the breath or sweat. They also are useful for monitoring [...]
Novel drugs, such as vaccines against covid-19, among others, are based on drug transport using nanoparticles. Whether this drug transport is negatively influenced by an accumulation of blood proteins on the nanoparticle’s surface was [...]