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‘Great News’ in Drug Study As WHO Moves to Update COVID-19 Guidance

LONDON – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday it was moving to update its guidelines on treating people affected with COVID-19 to reflect the results of a clinical trial that showed that a cheap, common steroid could help save patients in critical condition.
Results from trials announced Tuesday showed that dexamethasone, used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in diseases like arthritis, reduced death rates by about a third among the most severely hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
The WHO clinical guideline for the treatment of patients infected with the new coronavirus is intended for physicians and other medical professionals. It seeks to use the latest data to inform physicians on how best to address all stages of the disease, from screening until discharge.
The benefit was only seen in severely ill patients with COVID-19.
Although the results of the dexamethasone study are preliminary, the researchers behind the project said they suggest the drug should immediately become standard care in severely affected patients.
For ventilator patients, treatment was shown to reduce mortality by approximately one-third. For patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was reduced by about one-fifth, according to preliminary results shared with the WHO.
The benefit was only seen in severely ill patients with COVID-19 and was not seen in patients with milder disease.
The positive news came when coronavirus infections accelerated in some places, including the United States, and when Beijing canceled dozens of flights to help contain a new outbreak in the Chinese capital.
“This is the first treatment that has been shown to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen or respiratory support,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement Tuesday night. The agency said it was awaiting full analysis of study data in the coming days.
“The WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our general understanding of this intervention. The WHO clinical guide will be updated to reflect how and when to use the drug in COVID-19,” the agency added.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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