Dexamethasone: The New DRUG to combat COVID-19, not a vaccine!

Dexamethasone is the latest drug to help severely ill Coivd-19 patients recover. The drug is an anti-inflammatory for people with respiratory support.
By
Zahrah A
 - 
17 June 2020

On the news, Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, had recently been seen on the news promoting a new drug that could help save lives taken by Covid-19. This drug is named Dexamethasone.

What is Dexamethasone?

Dexamethasone is a cheap and widely available drug that could help seriously ill Coivd-19 patients. The drug itself is an anti-inflammatory steroid. It does this by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones the body produces naturally.

The drug works by putting a dampener on the body's immune system. When someone is infected with Covid-19, the body's reaction to fight it off is to cause inflammation. However, with patients that are seriously ill, their immune system could be working too hard to inflame the body - which could, in this case, be fatal. The reaction to attack pathogens ends up hurting the body itself. So, when the body is going into overdrive, Dexamethasone calms the effect.

This drug is only effective against those who are already hospitalised and are either receiving oxygen or ventilation - those who are the most unwell. With milder symptoms, suppressing the immune system would not be helpful.

dexamethasone

Does Dexamethasone Actually Work?

According to the trials conducted with this drug, one in three deaths could be prevented with patients on ventilators. For patients on oxygen, it could prevent one death in five. For patients that weren't receiving respiratory support, there was no significant benefit.

This trial was the Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 therapy trial. It was conducted by the University of Oxford and was used to test whether medicines effective for other conditions could be effective when treating Covid-19.

In the trial, approximately 2,100 patients received a 6mg daily dose of Dexamethasone. Their progress when taking the drug was compared to a random sample of approximately 4,300 patients who received no additional treatment.

What Are the Side-Effects?

Like many other drugs, Dexamethasone has side-effects. The common ones include anxiety, difficulty sleeping, weight gain and fluid retention. The more rare side-effects include eye-disorders, blurred vision and haemorrhage.

Now with this new drug that is supposed to help severely ill Covid-19 patients, do we still need to be forced to get vaccinated? What do you THINK?

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