• Vivian De Waart

Steroids Proven to Help Clinically Ill Coronavirus Patients

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Steroids have now been proven to reduce mortality in severely ill coronavirus patients. The findings were published by the Journal of the American Medical Assn. on Wednesday, September 2nd.

The analysis came from seven studies and tests led by a group from the World Health Organization (WHO). The results were that steroids reduced the risk of death in the first month by around one-third (Associated Press of the LA Times).

”This opens up more choices,” said Dr. Martin Landray, one of the professors at the University of Oxford who led the studies, “The more options there are in terms of availability, the better.”

The steroid drugs are seen to work partly because of their ability to reduce inflammation. Coronavirus patients who are severely ill can have inflamed lungs as a result of the immune system overreacting to the infection and the steroids can combat this (Galiatsatos).

In June, a study done by the New England Journal of Medicine found that a steroid called dexamethasone cut deaths by up to 35% in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. These drugs were only seen to help those who are on breathing machines and those who need extra oxygen. The steroids do not help those who are not severely ill and are actually possibly harmful for them.

Steroids are very inexpensive and are widely available. These drugs are not the same types of steroids that are often misused in sports. The type of steroid used right now is called dexamethasone, however, tests are currently being done to approve other types of steroids.

Oxford University tested to see whether or not it was only one type of steroids that could help coronavirus patients. They tested 6 other steroids and they were all seen to be similarly effective.

There were 222 deaths among 678 patients given a steroid and 425 deaths among the 1,025 patients given placebo or just usual care (Associated Press of the LA Times). This shows that the steroids are not 100% effective but it does reduce the number of deaths in hospitals.

Now, WHO issued a piece of written treatment advice, recommending steroids for patients with severe COVID-19 and suggested that they don’t use it on minimally ill patients.

The treatment advice and guidelines also state that it is recommended to use dexamethasone or alternative steroid drugs if dexamethasone is not available.

This is a huge breakthrough in regards to progress with COVID-19 as it can be the life saving element to a clinically ill patient.

“It makes me feel so much safer for my son,” said Sara Legallo, a mother of a high risk individual, “I know that if he does get clinically ill, there could be something to help and save him.”

“I realize how close I came to losing my life,” said Mark Shannon, a 61 year old retired bank teller who spent 11 days on a breathing machine. He was given steroids and recovered.

It is crucial to know that although this is not a permanent solution or a cure, it is a life saving treatment for clinically ill patients and a groundbreaking discovery in coronavirus progress.