First drug proves able to improve survival from COVID-19

National Coronavirus Coverage

FILE – In this March 2020 photo provided by Gilead Sciences, rubber stoppers are placed onto filled vials of the investigational drug remdesivir at a Gilead manufacturing site in the United States. Given through an IV, the medication is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (Gilead Sciences via AP)

(AP) – Researchers in England say they have the first evidence that a drug can improve survival from COVID-19.

The drug is a cheap, widely available steroid called dexamethasone.

Results released Tuesday show it reduced deaths by up to one third in severely ill hospitalized patients.

The study was led by the University of Oxford.

It involved thousands of patients randomly assigned to get the drug or just usual care.

The drug reduced deaths by 35% in patients who needed treatment with breathing machines and by 20% in those only needing supplemental oxygen.

It did not appear to help less ill patients.

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