According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an inexpensive, easily available steroid has been used to treat coronavirus patients in hospitals, and it has cut down the mortality rate by one-third.
During the WHO’s meta-analysis, out of 678 severely ill patients, 32.7% who received corticosteroids died compared to 41.5% of patients who received usual care or a placebo. Statistical adjustments, using meta-analyses, reflected an absolute mortality risk reduction of about 30% when corticosteroid was used.
Corticosteroids is now strongly recommended by the WHO to be the first line of defense for patients who are baldy affected by COVID-19 and should be given to patients for 7-10 days.
The organization urged that the treatment only be used for those who are “severe and critical” as to not decrease supply needed for patients whose conditions are worse. This drug could also be more detrimental to those with less severe symptoms than helpful, compromising their immune system and making them more vulnerable to COVID-19. There are some coronavirus patients, who are not on oxygen, who may be able to take the drug before more severe symptoms set in if there are early signs that their immune system will be compromised.
The drug works by not outright attacking the virus but by dampening the patient’s immune system to prevent it from attacking the lungs, which is often fatal. This is called acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Side effects were seen in 18% of patients who received corticosteroids as opposed to 23% of patients who received the placebo. The number of serious side effects were minimal.
In other good news, Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that a “safe and effective” vaccine for COVID-19 could be coming sooner than he expected.
“I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine,” said Fauci on NBC’s “TODAY”.