Dexamethasone 

#GS3 #Science&Technology 

Indian doctors have said the reported success of dexamethasone — an inexpensive steroid that retails for less than ₹10 for 10 ml and is made by several Indian manufacturers — in saving the lives of COVID-19 patients on ventilators is good news for the country. 

Details  

  • Scientists administering the WHO-administered RECOVERY trial, the largest global clinical trial that is checking the ability of several repurposed drugs to treat COVID-19, reported that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.  
  • There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support. 

What is ‘Dexamethasone’? 

  • Dexamethasone is a steroid (not an antiviral drug) – a medicine that reduces inflammation by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones produced by the body. 
  • This drug works by dampening down the body’s immune system. 
  • Coronavirus infection triggers inflammation as the body tries to fight it off. But sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and it’s this reaction that can prove fatal – the very reaction designed to attack infection ends up attacking the body’s own cells. 
  • Dexamethasone calms this effect. It’s only suitable for people who are already in hospital and receiving oxygen or mechanical ventilation – the most unwell. 
  • The drug does not work on people with milder symptoms, and suppressing their immune system at this point would not be helpful. 
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