WMFE is Central Florida's primary provider of NPR programming on 90.7 FM and Classical Music on 90.7 HD2. Part of the community since 1965, WMFE focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. We inspire and empower all Central Floridians to discover, grow and engage within and beyond their world.
Support for 90.7 WMFE is provided by

Early Results Show Benefit Of Steroid For Very Sick COVID-19 Patients

A COVID-19 patient is attached to a ventilator in April in the emergency room at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Yonkers, N.Y. A steroid treatment is showing promise in reducing mortality for patients on ventilators.
Image credit: John Minchillo

A low-cost anti-inflammatory drug appears to reduce the risk of death in patients with COVID-19.

The drug is called dexamethasone. It’s been used for decades to treat conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Because patients with advanced COVID-19 disease can have severe lung inflammation, scientists wanted to see if dexamethasone could treat that condition.

It was one of the drugs studied in a large clinical trial in the United Kingdom known as RECOVERY, or Randomized Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy.

During the study, 2,104 patients were randomly selected to receive 6 milligrams of dexamethasone once a day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for 10 days. That group was compared with 4,321 patients who received the usual care alone.

“Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients,” according to a news release from the RECOVERY trial organizers, “and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.” There was no benefit for patients who didn’t need help breathing as a result of their illness.

“Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19,” said Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford and one of the chief investigators for the trial.

“This is an extremely welcome result. The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”

It’s not clear whether that will be the case. Details of the study have not been released. What’s more, other studies of similar drugs have failed to find a benefit for patients suffering from other diseases associated with a coronavirus.

The RECOVERY trial organizers said they decided to make their announcement by news release because of “the public health importance of these results.” The release added that “we are now working to publish the full details as soon as possible.”

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Get The 90.7 WMFE Newsletter

Your trusted news source for the latest Central Florida news, updates on special programs and more.

Stay tuned in to our local news coverage: Listen to 90.7 WMFE on your FM or HD radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” and you’ll be connected.

WMFE Journalistic Ethics Code | Public Media Code of Integrity