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Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Dexamethasone, The Low-Cost Drug Oxford University Called Breakthrough In COVID-19 Treatment?

Senior Doctor from Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital, Pulmonologist, Dr Arvind Kumar explains the benefits and cautions in the usage of Dexamethasone for the treatment of COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus Outbreak Explained: What Is Dexamethasone, The Cheap Drug Oxford University Called Breakthrough In COVID-19 Treatment?
Highlights
  • Trial for dexamethasone, a low-cost drug brings hope: Oxford University
  • Steroid drug proves useful for critically-ill COVID patients: Researchers
  • 85% of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not need to take the drug: Doctor

New Delhi: Oxford University researchers this week announced the results of ‘Recovery Trial’ for the dexamethasone, a low-cost, widely used steroid in treating COVID-19 patients. According to the researchers, giving low doses of the dexamethasone drug to patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, reduced death rates by around a third among those with the most severe cases of infection. Senior Doctor from Delhi’s Sir Gangaram Hospital, Pulmonologist, Dr Arvind Kumar, told NDTV that in the gloomy background of last 4-5 months of fighting the virus, it is the first drug which has been shown to have a significant impact on mortality in the groups which saw the highest deaths.

Dr Kumar explained the trial procedure to NDTV,

It was a randomised trial, in which you take ’n’ number of patients, divide them into two groups and assign a drug randomly to those groups. So one group gets the drug, the other group gets a placebo, and you follow them up. After a certain amount of time, you see which group is doing well. If the group with the drug is doing well, it is obviously because of the drug. So at Oxford, they had a large number of patients, 2,104 as per the University data, who were given dexamethasone for 28 days, while 4,000 were not. At the end of 28 days, when they looked at the mortality rate for this period, there was a one-third reduction in the mortality of patients on a ventilator.

Also Read: Dharavi’s Success Story: How Asia’s Largest Slum And A Thriving Hotspot Got A Grip On COVID-19

Dr Kumar further said that in the group, where the drug wasn’t given, 41 per cent of the patients who were on ventilator died due to the coronavirus, but in the group which were getting this drug, the mortality rate was 28 per cent. He added,

Similarly, those COVID-19 patients who were on oxygen, 25 per cent of the people who were not getting this medicine died, while 20 per cent died in the group that took the medicine. They said 1 out of 8 patients on ventilators and  1 out of every 25 patients on oxygen is being additionally saved by the use of this cheap, worldwide available medicine.

Mr Kumar said that the medicine is basically one of the forms of steroids, which in different preparation, different doses, are used in Intensive Care Units (ICU) across India. He further informed that In India, the medicine was already being used by various hospitals in treating critically infected patients with COVID-19. The trial, he says, just proved it to be effective. He said,

A large number of ICUs across our country, including our ICU in Sir Gangaram hospital has been using dexamethasone since the time COVID patients started coming. What has happened now is that now there is a strong trial which has proved it to be of definite measurable scientific benefit.

Also Read: Delayed Admissions And Lack Of Healthcare Workers, Doctors Talk About The Challenges Faced By Hospitals In Tackling COVID-19

However, Dr Kumar cautions everyone against the use of this medicine without any medical supervision. He warns,

There are three important things to note here, first, this medicine is only to be used by doctors and not people, this shouldn’t be used without doctor supervision. Secondly, it is very important to note that this drug has only shown to be of benefit in patients who were on ventilators or who were on high dose oxygen support. In the groups which were not on oxygen or ventilators, this drug didn’t show any benefit in survival. And lastly, this drug is a steroid so it can potentially cause problems with sugar and if taken unsupervised for long it can actually reduce your immunity. Therefore, I’m asserting an expert supervision in consuming this particular drug.

Mr Kumar signed off by saying that 85 per cent COVID-19 patients in general across the globe fall in the mild-category of infection and this drug has no role at all in their treatment.

Also Read: In The Size Of 22 Football Fields, Delhi Gets The World’s Largest COVID-19 Care Facility, With Recyclable Beds

World

26,58,63,058Cases
22,65,37,591Active
3,40,69,608Recovered
52,55,859Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,58,63,058 and 52,55,859 have died; 22,65,37,591 are active cases and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 5:12 am.

India

3,46,41,561 8,306Cases
98,416739Active
3,40,69,608 8,834Recovered
4,73,537 211Deaths
In India, there are 3,46,41,561 confirmed cases including 4,73,537 deaths. The number of active cases is 98,416 and 3,40,69,608 have recovered as on December 6, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,38,778 707

10,826 23

64,86,782 677

1,41,170 7

Kerala

51,65,921 4,450

44,110 317

50,80,211 4,606

41,600 161

Karnataka

29,98,099 456

7,161 120

29,52,708 330

38,230 6

Tamil Nadu

27,30,516 724

8,041 29

26,85,946 743

36,529 10

Andhra Pradesh

20,73,730 154

2,122 27

20,57,156 177

14,452 4

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,475 24

134 18

16,87,430 6

22,911

West Bengal

16,19,257 620

7,639 17

15,92,074 627

19,544 10

Delhi

14,41,358 63

370 48

14,15,890 15

25,098

Odisha

10,50,249 189

2,154 25

10,39,673 212

8,422 2

Chhattisgarh

10,06,967 25

330 4

9,93,044 21

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,891 17

221 8

9,45,715 9

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,707 48

349 23

8,17,263 24

10,095 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,241 9

133 9

7,82,580 18

10,528

Haryana

7,71,819 22

185 5

7,61,580 17

10,054

Bihar

7,26,237 6

26 4

7,14,121 2

12,090

Telangana

6,76,943 156

3,787 8

6,69,157 147

3,999 1

Assam

6,17,576 101

2,490 61

6,08,966 158

6,120 4

Punjab

6,03,488 37

361 14

5,86,519 23

16,608

Jharkhand

3,49,342 25

127 12

3,44,074 13

5,141

Uttarakhand

3,44,353 8

174 1

3,36,768 7

7,411

Jammu And Kashmir

3,37,807 161

1,706 25

3,31,620 184

4,481 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,27,518 35

755 45

2,22,911 80

3,852

Goa

1,79,174 49

412 18

1,75,375 31

3,387

Mizoram

1,36,454 92

3,101 454

1,32,846 544

507 2

Puducherry

1,29,085 29

280 14

1,26,930 43

1,875

Manipur

1,25,360 32

353 9

1,23,025 40

1,982 1

Tripura

84,858 5

90 1

83,943 6

825

Meghalaya

84,583 9

244 2

82,864 11

1,475

Chandigarh

65,488 7

58 2

64,610 9

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,293 5

36 4

54,977 1

280

Sikkim

32,369 10

215 2

31,749 8

405

Nagaland

32,136

117 9

31,320 9

699

Ladakh

21,714 31

295 3

21,204 34

215

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

0 0

10,679

4

Lakshadweep

10,404

10 0

10,343

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,688

4 2

7,555 2

129

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