Amid the rising number of coronavirus cases globally and the rush to find proper vaccinations for the disease, two researchers in the UK have found steroid drug dexamethasone helpful in treating the critical patients dependent on ventilators or oxygen.
Though this might be a breakthrough, researchers say that the findings are still in the preliminary stage.
"That is a highly statistically significant result," CNN quoted Martin Landray, deputy chief investigator of the trial and a professor at the University of Oxford, as saying during a virtual press conference.
He is one of the two lead researchers of the Recovery Trial, a large UK-based trial investigating potential COVID-19 treatments.
He said, "This is a completely compelling result. If one looks at the patients who did not require ventilators but were on oxygen, there was also a significant risk reduction of about one-fifth."
"However, we did not see any benefit in those patients who were in the hospital, had COVID-19, but whose lungs were working sufficiently well -- they were not taking either oxygen or on ventilators," Landray said.
"In the trial, our focus was on mortality, which obviously a drug can affect in either direction, but the overall results in the patients on oxygen and ventilation was a clear benefit. We have looked, for example, were there deaths due to other forms of infection, which are sometimes considered a risk? The answer is no and there was no excess of any other particular cause of death," he added.
Speaking about the trial, Landray said that dexamethasone was provided at a dose of 6 mg once a day for up to 10 days, administered either as an injection or taken orally.
No serious complications were seen among the patients taking dexamethasone, the researchers said.
As per the latest data by Johns Hopkins University, the total number of coronavirus cases globally stands at 8,075,962 and 437,939 people have succumbed to the disease so far.
( With inputs from ANI )