Saudi Arabia has approved dexamethasone to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients after UK researchers found that the generic steroid drug substantially cuts the death rate among the seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
The Ministry of Health said that dexamethasone would be used within the treatment protocol for coronavirus patients.
“We have already started to give dexamethasone to hospitalised patients and those under intensive care who need oxygen,” the ministry’s spokesperson Dr. Mohammad Al Abdul Ali said.
Dr. Al Abdul Ali said: “According to studies, dexamethasone has been proven to cut mortality by as much as 35 per cent for patients on ventilators, and by about 20 per cent for those on oxygen only.”
Dexamethasone is hailed as the biggest breakthrough yet in the fight against coronavirus, according to British researchers. It is a cheap, widely available drug that reduces deaths among severe COVID-19 patients.
According to the UK study involving thousands of patients in the UK, dexamethasone cuts the death rate among the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
Such patients are so ill that they have to be artificially ventilated, and often have less than a 50 per cent chance of surviving.
The study also found that less sick patients needing only oxygen support also benefited from the drug, with a 20 per cent cut in the death rate.