CDC: Preexisting Health Conditions Increase Risk of Death From COVID-19 Twelvefold

CDC: Preexisting Health Conditions Increase Risk of Death From COVID-19 Twelvefold

The WHO's clinical guidance for treating patients infected with the new coronavirus is aimed at doctors and other medical professionals and seeks to use the latest data to inform clinicians on how best to tackle all phases of the disease, from screening to discharge.

While many experts touted the results published Tuesday, others urged caution, noting that two papers were recently retracted after impacting COVID-19 trials around the world. "This is a significant improvement in the available therapeutic options that we have".

The drug was given either orally or through an IV for 10 days.

According to what we know of their results, dexamethasone cuts the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. The researchers running the study, called RECOVERY, made a decision to stop enrolling patients on dexamethasone on June 8 because they believed they had enough data to get a clear result.

Dexamethasone has been shown to cut deaths by a third for patients on ventilators and a fifth for those on oxygen.

"We have learned a lot obviously in the last several months", Dr. Antonios says. "It's not a cure, but it's certainly a long way forward". It's especially good news because the drug "is remarkably cheap, perhaps 20 or 30 USA dollars for an entire course of treatment", he added.

"There's another group of patients who don't require oxygen and who have Covid-19 and we did not see the benefit in those patients, so it's not a drug that you would use in the community or on an out-patient basis or with patients who didn't have breathing difficulties". This overreaction damages the lungs and can prove fatal.

Steroids reduce inflammation caused by the body's immune system overreacting to an infection, a process known as a cytokine storm. This is the first evidence that a drug can improve the survival rate.

Coronavirus – Tues Apr 21st 2020
The drug cut the risk of death by a third for coronavirus patients on ventilators

If the drug had been used to treat patients in the United Kingdom from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved in the country alone the researchers said, adding that its use could be highly beneficial now in poorer countries with high numbers of Covid-19 patients. "It's a major breakthrough", Chief investigator Professor Peter Horby told the BBC. What's more, other studies of similar drugs have failed to find a benefit for patients suffering from other diseases associated with a coronavirus.

The preliminary findings of the study had been shared with WHO.

No information was given on side effects of the drugs, but researchers said they used a low dose and for a short time, which is generally safe. In fact, the use of the drug may make symptoms worse.

According to health ministry the recovery rate is now 52.47 per cent. USA regulators have revoked emergency authorization of hydroxychloroquine.

Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist who is a visiting scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tweeted, "Dexamethasone is cheap, available from any pharmacy, and easily obtainable anywhere in the world".

"This is a ground-breaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable".

Dexamethasone could point to a new treatment for the worst cases of COVID-19.

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