Coronavirus: ‘Major breakthrough’ as UK scientists find £5 steroid cuts COVID-19 deaths

As scientists globally are working to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, experts in the United Kingdom have however discovered a cheap and available treatment for COVID-19 patients.

In the aftermath of the use of common steroid drug dexamethasone in treating COVID-19 patients, the drug been described as a “major breakthrough”.

Professor Peter Horby, a University of Oxford academic who led the trial, said the drug reduced death rates by around 35% for COVID-19 patients on ventilators, and by about 20% for patients needing oxygen.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street news briefing, he said: “In three months, we have enrolled over 11,500 patients and this makes it by far the biggest clinical trial in the world.”

Professor Horby said the majority of patients being treated in hospital for COVID-19 were likely to benefit from the study, after conducting a trial comparing 2,000 people being treated with the drug and 4,000 without.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed it as the “biggest breakthrough yet” in treating the virus.

“I am proud of these British scientists, backed by UK government funding, who have led the first, robust clinical trial anywhere in the world to find a coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death,” he said.

The PM said the drug would be made available across the NHS, assuring that necessary steps have been taken to ensure enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.

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