Scientists have announced the first major breakthrough in the search for a drug to fight “Covid-19,” with evidence indicating that it could successfully reduce deaths from severe disease.
A research team at Oxford University found that a cheap and widely available drug called dexamethasone, a type of corticosteroid medicine (steroid), can be effective in very severe forms of the disease and reduce virus deaths by up to a third in people with severe illnesses from Covid-19
Dexamethasone has been around since the early 1960s. The steroid is often given in low doses as an anti-inflammatory. It is widely used for severe asthma and allergies and when the joints are painful and swollen. It is also used in autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus or more commonly in rheumatoid arthritis.
It is this effect on our inflammation and immune system that makes it useful in fighting the worst effects of Covid-19.
Dexamethasone is a steroid that prevents the secretion of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Dexamethasone is used to treat many different conditions such as allergic diseases, skin diseases, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, respiratory disorders, leukemia and lymphoma.
Besides the fact that the drug is only useful in treating people with severe illnesses from “Covid-19”, there are side effects in the use of steroids, including weight gain, high blood pressure, fluid retention (swelling of the hands or ankles), mood changes, Sleep problems, and high blood sugar in diabetics.
Dexamethasone side effects depend on a number of factors, including dosage, duration, and frequency of administration and can range from mild to irreversible harm.
Possible side effects also include a rash, bruising, or discoloration, as well as acne, increased sweating, increased hair growth, headache and dizziness, nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, menstrual changes, childhood delay and depression, or even psychotic behavior.