This week the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the results of an investigation carried out by the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, which indicates that dexamethasone may reduce the risk of death in people affected by COVID-19 in state of gravity. According to the preliminary conclusions of the clinical trial entitled Recovery, treatment with this drug "reduces mortality by approximately one third in patients who require ventilation, and by around one fifth in those who only require oxygen therapy."
With dexamethasone, the only medicine so far welcomed by the WHO to treat COVID-19 in critically ill people, it opens up the possibility of reducing mortality from the new coronavirus.
What is dexamethasone?
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid, a medicine that reduces inflammation by acting just like the anti-inflammatory hormones the body produces naturally. This drug has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation caused by certain pathologies and, since 1977, it has been on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.
After learning the initial conclusions of the clinical trial developed in the United Kingdom, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said that dexamethasone is "the first treatment that has been shown to reduce mortality among patients with COVID-19 who need oxygen therapy or ventilation"; He added that the WHO will update its clinical guideline "to reflect how and when dexamethasone should be used to treat COVID-19."
Taking into account that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, it can seriously affect the lungs when severe inflammation occurs, which is the main cause of mortality. According to the results of the Oxford University study, dexamethasone helps patients continue to receive oxygen in the blood from the lungs; because, in a critical period of the disease, it reduces inflammation quickly.
Although this finding constitutes very good news for humanity, which for several months has been striving to prevent and combat the conditions posed by the new coronavirus, it is important to highlight that dexamethasone is not a treatment for the virus itself, nor a preventive medicine against coronavirus. "Dexamethasone was shown not to have a beneficial effect for people with milder disease, those who do not need respiratory assistance," said the WHO director, warning that this drug should only be used under strict medical supervision.
This drug, on which hope is currently placed for the treatment of COVID-19 and the prevention of deaths, has been produced by Procaps since 2007.
Procaps, always committed to the well-being and health of all people, celebrates the findings of the mentioned research, while through the efforts of the Organization, it can contribute to the generation of products such as dexamethasone that allow recovery of patients severely affected by the coronavirus.
At Procaps we join the indications regarding this drug and its application within the treatment of COVID-19, highlighted by the WHO and by the group of Oxford scientists who carried out the study. We reiterate that dexamethasone does not constitute a drug to avoid the coronavirus, nor to treat it in a mild state; Instead, it can only be used to treat COVID-19 in serious states, in critically ill patients who require respiratory assistance.
Noticias ONU [Website]. La OMS celebra el hallazgo del primer tratamiento para pacientes graves de COVID-19 [published on june 17 2020; retrieved on june 18 2020]. Available in: https://news.un.org/es/story/2020/06/1476132
Organización Mundial de la Salud [Website]. La OMS acoge con satisfacción los resultados de un ensayo sobre el uso de la dexametasona en el tratamiento de pacientes con COVID-19 en estado crítico [published on june 16 2020; retrieved on june 18 2020]. Available in: https://www.who.int/es/news-room/detail/16-06-2020-who-welcomes-preliminary-results-about-dexamethasone-use-in-treating-critically-ill-covid-19-patients