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WHO called scientific breakthrough the British study to treat COVID with the steroid dexamethasone

The World Health Organisation (WHO) hailed as a “scientific breakthrough” preliminary results from a British clinical trial suggesting administration of the steroid dexamethasone reduces mortality in patients with severe form of Covid-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus, report world agencies.
“This is the first treatment to demonstrate a decrease in mortality in Covid-19 patients placed on artificial lung ventilation apparatus,” according to the statement made by WHO Director-General Tedros Adani Ghebreyesus.

"The news is wonderful. I congratulate Britain, the University of Oxford and the many British patients who have contributed to this life-saving scientific breakthrough,” adds Gebreyesus.

The authors of the study shared the initial results with WHO. The statement also said that a full analysis of the data is expected in the coming days.

"WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase understanding of this intervention. We will update our guidelines to reflect how and when the drug should be used in Covid-19", the organization said.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that American doctors are skeptical of the steroid's administration and want to get more data after a recent influential research was pulled by the prestigious British scientific journal The Lancet. Despite this, U.S. experts retain their optimism.

Global pressure in search of a Covid-19 vaccine has accelerated the process of reporting results from research devoted to the coronavirus, fuelling confusion over whether therapies have been proven effective. Earlier in the month, the The Lancet pulled research into the impact of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine over concerns about the reliability of the data.

"We have parried ourselves before, not just during the coronavirus pandemic, with exciting data that we have access to, and which is proving insufficiently convincing,” says Dr. Catherine Hibbert, director of the intensive care unit of the Massachusetts Multiprofile Hospital. “I hope this is true, as it will be a huge step forward and allow us to help our patients,” adds Dr Hibbert, noting that at this stage it will not change practices.

"Steroids suppress the immune system,” warns Dr. Thomas McGinn of Northwell Health, New York. “We want to see what the study looks like with a view to the recent download of a publication,” the expert adds.


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