Oxford University researchers hailed dexamethasone as the first drug that can improve COVID-19 survival, and the news was received with excitement by the Canadian medical community.
Oxford University recently revealed the first evidence in human trials that the drug can improve COVID-19 survival, and dexamethasone is now widely available on the NHS in the UK. It's a steroid administered orally or through IV, capable of reducing deaths in one third of severe COVID-19 hospitalized patients. And, happily, it's very inexpensive.
Dr. Peter Horby of Oxford University said that dexamethasone should be the "standard of care" in severe COVID-19 cases, and with the steroid's low price, he said it can be used "immediately to save lives worldwide."
The groundbreaking findings were received with excitement by the Canadian medical community. Dr. David Juurlink, the head of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, said that the findings of the dexamethasone study are "grabbing the attention" of every hospital physician treating patients with COVID-19. "I think we're going to start using it right away," said Dr. Juurlink.
McGill University Health Centre infectious disease researcher and physician Dr. Todd Lee said the results of the study appear to be "substantial," but he will wait until the full publication of the study this week before recommending the use of dexamethasone for all COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Lee warned that "it's very hard to practice medicine from a press release," but he said that low-risk patients who require ventilators or oxygen should receive dexamethasone.
No doubt medical communities around the world are also considering the implementation of dexamethasone whenever appropriate. Although, of course, all are waiting with baited breath for a universal vaccine - and there are now dozens of potential solutions being explored and tested.