WHO ‘Strongly’ Recommends Use Of Steroid To Treat Critical COVID Patients

London: After an analysis of seven trials found that treating critical COVID-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, the World Health Organization has updated its advice on treatment coronavirus.

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WHO’s clinical care head Janet Diaz said it has now included a “strong recommendation” for use of steroids in patients who are severely and critically affected by COVID-19.

“The evidence shows that if you give corticosteroids, there are 87 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients,” she told a WHO social media live event. “Those are lives saved.”

The research pooled data from separate trials of low dose hydrocortisone, dexamethasone and methylprednisolone and found that steroids improved survival chances of those COVID-19 patients who should be in intensive care in hospital.

“This is equivalent to around 68% of (the sickest COVID-19) patients surviving after treatment with corticosteroids, compared to around 60% surviving in the absence of corticosteroids,” the researchers said in a statement.

Also, steroids are a cheap and readily available medication, pointed out a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Britain’s Bristol University who was part of the research. “Our analysis has confirmed that they are effective in reducing deaths amongst the people most severely affected by COVID-19,” said Jonathan Sterne.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, only reinforce earlier results in June when dexamethasone was shown to be the first drug capable of reducing death rates among very critical COVID-19 patients.

Since then, some countries have been using dexamethasone in treating COVID-19 patients in intensive care wards.

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