Treating COVID-19 patients with Dexamethasone may have saved a million lives globally, according to NHS England.
The widely-available and inexpensive steroid was discovered to reduce coronavirus deaths following a clinical trial at the University of Oxford nine months ago.
Since then it is thought 22,000 lives have been saved in the UK using the drug, with estimations of a million worldwide.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hailed the news as a “true success story for British research”
Dexamethasone, which is mostly used to treat severe allergies, skin problems, swelling and autoimmune conditions, has been given to patients hospitalized for the novel coronavirus since last June.
A clinical test conducted by scientists at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, in the Recovery study, found that dexamethasone can reduce the mortality of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 and requiring oxygen and respirators by 18% and 36% respectively.
“Thanks to the exceptional work of the NHS team and patients, nearly a million lives could have been saved across the world,” commented NHS Executive Director Sir Simon Stevens.
“Research that could take years has yielded a response in record time – with results being echoed around the world,” he added.
“Just like the virus, treatments and vaccines are spreading across borders as a strategy for exiting this pandemic for humanity”, concluded the director.
(With input from Agencies)