An inexpensive anti-inflammatory enhances the survival chances of critically ill corona patients. As such, it is the first treatment, researchers at the University of Oxford, UK, report.
It is the drug dexamethasone. The scientists speak of a huge breakthrough.
Deaths in patients who needed help with breathing were lower in those who received a small dose of the anti-inflammatory drug over four weeks, compared to patients with standard care.
The study was stopped prematurely due to the essential preliminary results.
Dexamethasone treatment reduced the number of deaths in one-third of patients on ventilation. Those who received only oxygen were one fifth less.
No positive effect has been established in patients who did not require respiratory support.
The anti-inflammatory study is part of the feverish worldwide search by doctors and companies for treatments against the coronavirus, in which some 440,000 people have died worldwide.