Is Dexamethasone a Cure for COVID-19?
Many European countries already see the light at the end of the tunnel. They start to ease the quarantine restrictions. But the Pandemic continues. More than 8 million people all over the world already diagnosed with COVID-19. And the numbers are growing. However, there are some positive tendencies in the medical community. A couple of months ago, we could only speculate if there is any cure for COVID-19 at all. Now we get the news that some drug (Dexamethasone) proves effective against the disease more and more often. Dexamethasone was at the forefront of the headlines this week. Is it possible that the cure for COVID-19 is finally found?
What is Dexamethasone?
First of all, it is not a brand discovery. Dexamethasone is widely used since 2014 to alleviate inflammation. We already know that expensive lung inflammation is the most common cause of death from COVID-19.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has always recommended strictly against using steroids for the treatment of Coronavirus. The main reason is that steroids may hamper the fight against the disease. But in the late stages, most of the body is already gripped by infection. In this case, the use of steroids is possible. It may reduce lung inflammation and, therefore, to support the respiratory system.
Dexamethasone Might be the Answer
The University of Oxford has conducted research in several British hospitals. On Tuesday, the representatives of the research group announced that they had received encouraging results. The drug appears to reduce deaths in 35% of patients in the late stages of COVID-19. In the meantime, Dexamethasone shows the best result out of all previously tested drugs.
Another essential aspect that is in favor of steroids is that it is cheap. The full course of Dexamethasone costs about 25 Euros. Of course, the cost of treatment is extremely important if we talk about such a widespread disease like COVID-19. “The simplicity of genius” – this is a phrase that media often uses now speaking of Dexamethasone.
There is Always Some Bad News
Unfortunately, it is not all rosy. While proving to be quite useful, Dexamethasone is still a steroid. First of all, it should not be used for the treatment of COVID-19 in the early stages as it may only aggravate the situation. It means that we are still defenseless against the virus itself. Waiting until the latest stages to start treatment is dangerous and impossible. Still, it gives only a 35% possibility of success.
Secondly, steroids have a wide range of dangerous side effects. Water retention, high blood pressure, and rinse in blood sugar are quite common complications while using any steroid. This means that the possibilities of treatment with Dexamethasone are quite restricted. Not every patient is treatable with the drug even in the late stages of COVID-19.
The possible side effects may appear deadly for some patients, while their body is already severely damaged by the infection.
Good results that the University of Oxford has received after testing of Dexamethasone look encouraging. At the same time, it is important to remember the basic principle. Even the most efficient treatment of COVID-19 remains symptomatic and supportive. The spread of Coronavirus remains the main issue. The development of an effective and safe vaccine is still the only possible option to stop the Pandemic.