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Steroid may help sickest COVID-19 patients


Medical workers care for a COVID-19 patient at the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England. Associated Press/Photo by Neil Hall (file)

Steroid may help sickest COVID-19 patients

The same large study that found hydroxychloroquine offered no benefit against the coronavirus may have turned up a more promising candidate. Researchers in England said on Tuesday that the steroid dexamethasone reduced death by up to one-third among severely ill, hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

How reliable is this study? The large, strict test included more than 11,000 participants in the United Kingdom. Researchers randomly assigned 2,104 patients to receive the drug in addition to standard hospital care. After 28 days, the group of patients who received dexamethasone had 35 percent fewer deaths among those who needed breathing machines and 20 percent fewer died among those on supplemental oxygen compared with patients who received only normal hospital treatments. The inexpensive steroid didn’t seem to have any benefit in less severe cases of COVID-19.

Dig deeper: Read Julie Borg’s report in Beginnings about why the public got such mixed signals regarding hydroxychloroquine.


Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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