A CHEAP and widely available steroid called dexamethasone can help save the lives of patients seriously ill with coronavirus, a trial has found.
The major breakthrough shows that the drug, typically used to reduce inflammation, can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators.
And it has the potential to cut deaths by a fifth for those on oxygen according to University of Oxford which recruited 2,104 patients for the trial.
Researchers say thousands of lives could have been saved had the drug been used at the start of the pandemic.
The World Health Organisation has welcomed the trial results and the Government has 200,000 courses of the drug in its stockpile and says the NHS will make dexamethasone available to patients.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is involved a number of clinical trials regarding Covid-19.
The trust’s research operations lead, Emma Rowan, said: “The government has been clear that it is research that offers us hope to end the pandemic. It has been critical to their response.
“We are a crucial part of this nationally coordinated effort and are currently prioritising COVID-19 research to create the capacity to support as many of these important trials as possible.
“I would like to thank our research and frontline colleagues across the Trust for their enthusiasm and hard work in setting up and recruiting patients into studies as well as the hundreds of patients who have already taken part in COVID-19 studies.”