Advance in Treatment as Confirmed by Boris Johnson for COVID-19 Infection Last Week

Dexamethasone

This is a cheap, accessible steroid which has been available for many years.  The real breakthrough was that the recovery trial undertaken by the University of Oxford proved that low cost dexamethasone reduced death by up to one third in those hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19 disease.

The trial showed that there was a fast review from March 2020 when it was established as a randomised clinical trial to 8 June and recruitment to the Dexamethasone arm was halted since in the view of the trial steering committee, sufficient numbers of patients had been enrolled to establish whether or not the drug had a meaningful benefit.

The trial proved without doubt that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in patients receiving oxygen only. There was, however, no benefit amongst those patients who did not require respiratory support.

Based on these results, one death would be prevented by treatment of around eight ventilated patients or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

As the United Kingdom’s Government Chief Scientific Officer Sir Patrick Vallance said “This is tremendous news from the recovery trial showing that dexamethasone is the first drug to reduce mortality from COVID-19. It is particularly exciting as this is an inexpensive wildly available medicine.  This is a ground breaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed in finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable.  It shows the importance of doing high quality clinical trials and basing decisions on the results of those trials”.

The London General Practice commends the speed of the trial and its effectiveness in showing results. It looks forward to further trials being published and further effective medicines being established.

The London General Practice has kept abreast of all aspects connected with COVID-19 disease and is happy to undertake video consultations and provide PCR swabs by courier to anyone who considers themselves to be affected. We have established a safety net service for video review of any patient with COVID-19 symptoms.

We are also happy to see patients face to face or on home visits, with the doctor wearing full PPE for any patient so long as they do not have florid COVID-19 symptoms. 

If you have any medical concern, please do not hesitate to contact us.

DrPaul Ettlinger