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Steroids reduce risk of death in critically ill COVID-19 patients, new study shows

The use of inexpensive steroids in treating patients hospitalised with COVID-19 has been found to reduce the risk of death by 20%, according to a new international study.

The research encompassed seven clinical trials, which focused on three different types of anti-inflammatory corticosteroids, and was co-ordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Following the publication of the findings, the WHO issued new guidelines in which it recommended the use of corticosteroids as standard treatment for patients with “severe and critical” COVID-19.

The study, analysed by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) at the University of Bristol, looked at patient mortality over a 28-day period after treatment. It found that corticosteroid treatment led to an estimated 20% reduction in the risk of death.

Researchers said it was equivalent to about 68% of critically ill patients surviving after treatment with the steroids, compared to approximately 60% surviving without them.

Jonathan Sterne, professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at the University of Bristol, said: “Steroids are a cheap and readily available medication, and our analysis has confirmed that they are effective in reducing deaths amongst the people most severely affected by COVID-19."

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Source: The Independent, 2 September 2020


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