EVESHAM’S MP Nigel Huddleston has welcomed the news a ground-breaking coronavirus treatment has been approved for use across the NHS.
Dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, proved to significantly reduce the risk of death in hospitalised patients who require oxygen following the government-funded UK trial and has now been introduced in the fight against COVID-19.
The Mid Worcestershire MP said the outcome of the trial was a ‘big step towards our understanding of this virus, and our knowledge of effective treatment’.
“The UK is a leader in global science and I know the information from this research will now affect the global response to this pandemic and can be used by other countries to reduce the rate of mortality worldwide,” he said.
“I’m hugely grateful to the team of fantastic scientists, patients and others who contributed to this breakthrough.”
The Oxford University UK RECOVERY trial is the first clinical trial anywhere in the world to show a treatment significantly reduces mortality in patients.
For COVID-19 patients on ventilation, the risk of death is reduced by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%. Dexamethasone is a steroid, which is generally used to reduce inflammation by dampening down the body’s immune system.
In severe cases of COVID-19, the immune system is in overdrive and this can prove fatal. Dexamethasone has shown that it can therefore be used for patients in hospitals to reduce this risk and help them recover from the virus.
The positive outcome has been the result of government, scientists and the NHS working together with more than 177,000 patients enrolled. It is the largest randomised clinical trial anywhere in the world and whilst this is the first strong, positive outcome, the trial will continue to try other medicines to help tackle COVID-19.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said “Whilst tempting to do otherwise, it is always better to wait for the evidence. On the dexamethasone findings, this is very encouraging because the signal on reduced mortality applies to many of the patients admitted to hospitals and the drug is comparatively low priced and available worldwide.”
Following the trial, the Government has secured supplies of the drug and took swift action to buy additional stocks – meaning in the UK, there’s already enough treatment for over 200,000 people from stockpiles alone.
The Government has also taken action to protect the supply by placing restrictions on companies buying stocks meant for UK hospitals and selling them for a higher price elsewhere.