New Delhi, June 17 (PTI): The UK government on Wednesday authorised the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) to use steroid dexamethasone, the "world's first' coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death among severely ill patients. The Department of Health said the cheap and widely available anti-inflammatory steroid has been immediately approved to treat all hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators, after an Oxford University trial confirmed positive results on Tuesday. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the government-funded trial as the "biggest breakthrough', which has "greatly reduced' patients' chances of dying from COVID-19.
"I am proud of these British scientists, backed by UK government funding, who have led the first, robust clinical trial anywhere in the world to find a coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death,' he said. According to scientists, the drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35 per cent and patients on oxygen by 20 per cent.
"The standard treatment for COVID-19 will include dexamethasone, helping save thousands of lives while we deal with this terrible virus,' said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.