Context: A team of researchers at U.K found out that Drug Dexamethasone could be administered to Covid 19 patients.
About the study:
- The study enrolled more than 11,000 patients in the U.K., Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
- They were given either standard of care or that plus one of several treatments:
- the HIV combo drug lopinavir-ritonavir,
- the antibiotic azithromycin;
- the steroid dexamethasone,
- the anti-inflammatory drug tocilizumab, or
- plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 that contains antibodies to fight the virus
- The same study that earlier this month showed the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine was not working against the coronavirus.
Findings of Research:
- Patients who were given the drug, either orally or through vaccines showed a higher probability of recovery.
- It reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen.
- It did not appear to help less ill patients.
- It is a generic steroid widely used in other diseases to reduce inflammation.
- The steroid medicine has been available as a generic for decades.
- It is used to treat a range of diseases including rheumatism, asthma, allergies and even to help cancer patients better handle the nausea triggered by chemotherapy.
- In the field of sport
- The low-cost, anti-inflammatory steroid is well known in the world of sport. Dexamethasone has been used for years by sportspersons to hasten their rehabilitation from injuries and recover from infections.
- However, it is not permitted during competition because it helps all the infection and inflammation to subside and gives you a feeling of well-being.
- The drug is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) list of prohibited substances, however athletes can use the same before the competition.
- In other words if the substance is detected prior to a competition, it will not be considered a doping offence.
- Efficacy against Coronavirus:
- The drug helps stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.
- Steroid drugs reduce inflammation, which sometimes develops in Covid-19 patients as the immune system overreacts to fight the infection.
- The overreaction of the immune systems, which triggers what is known as a “cytokine storm syndrome” (CSS).
- This overreaction can prove fatal, so doctors have been testing steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs in such patients.
- It could help in bringing down Covid mortality rates as survival benefit is large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment.
- It could augment accessibility to treatment as the drug is inexpensive and can be imported in sufficient quantities by poor countries as well.
World Anti-Doping Agency:
- It is a foundation initiated by the International Olympic Committee based in Canada to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against drugs in sports.
- It’s key activities include scientific research, education, and development of anti-doping capacities.
- It also monitors the World Anti-Doping Code, whose provisions are enforced by the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport.
- The aims of the Council of Europe Anti-Doping Convention and the United States Anti-Doping Agency are also closely aligned with those of WADA.
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