Major study finds common steroid reduces deaths among patients with severe COVID-19

New research indicates that dexamethasone, a widely available steroid, reduced mortality by a third among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study has not yet been published or undergone scientific scrutiny, but some experts are optimistic. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called it "a very positive finding" in an interview on CNBC.

New research indicates that dexamethasone, a widely available steroid, reduced mortality by a third among patients hospitalized with COVID-19. The study has not yet been published or undergone scientific scrutiny, but some experts are optimistic. Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb called it "a very positive finding" in an interview on CNBC. "I think it needs to be validated, but it certainly suggests that this could be beneficial in this setting," he said. In the study, 2,104 patients were randomized to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once a day, by mouth or I.V. injection, while 4,321 patients received only usual care. For patients who required mechanical ventilation, dexamethasone reduced the death rate by 35%. For patients who required oxygen but were not ventilated, the death rate among patients taking the drug was reduced 20%. Patients who did not require oxygen saw no benefit. Researchers halted enrollment for the dexamethasone arm on June 8 because they had enough data to determine whether or there was a meaningful benefit. "Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19," said Peter Horby, one of the lead investigators of the study and a professor in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford. A different arm of the RECOVERY study recently found that hydroxychloroquine had no benefit in hospitalized patients.