NEW DELHI: Days after it emerged that Dexamethasone, a steroid could be helping cut down Covid-19 mortalities in severely sick patients, the first empirical evidence from India has shown that another drug from the same class of medicines is saving lives of many seriously ill with the infection.
An observational research by doctors at a tertiary care hospital in Mumbai said methylprednisolone, a glucosteroid, helped them cure six out of seven serious COVID patients who had low oxygenation saturation levels — a sign of the disease’s severity — apart from several other symptoms.
The researchers noted that the role of glucocorticoids in treatment of COVID-19, which used to suppress acute immune response or cytokine storm, has been riddled with controversy, but critical care specialists say these drugs have been used on infected patients since the beginning.
Doctors at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital said that in the initial cohort of seven patients with severe infection between second week of March and first week of April, use of methylprednisolone in a dose of 30 mg twice daily was associated with rapid improvement in oxygenation and decline in reactive protein levels.
“While six patients made a complete clinical recovery, one died," the researchers said, warning that careful selection of patients, close monitoring and good supportive care is essential when steroids is administered to patients. Though this is a limited study without a comparison group, its finding assumes significance in the wake of a similar finding about dexamethasone from UK’s Recovery Trials published recently.
Dexamethasone is a type of corticosteroid that is an anti-inflammatory and immuno-suppressant. It was found to help COVID patients facing acute inflammatory response. Researchers from the Oxford University had last week, announced that that the drug, being tried in many patients as part of the largest randomised clinical trial in the world to test repurposed therapies for COVID, showed benefits.
As part of the trial, a total of 2,104 patients were randomised to receive dexamethasone 6 mg once per day for ten days and were compared with 4,321 patients randomised to usual care alone. The results showed mortality rate in patients who required ventilation and were given dexamethasone fell from 41 per cent to 28 per cent. In moderately sick patients who required oxygen support only, the deaths were reduced by a fifth.
17,296 Single-day tally at new high
The single-day surge in COVID cases crossed 17,000 on Friday, pushing India’s tally closer to the five-lakh mark while the death toll climbed to 15,301 with 407 new fatalities, according to Health Ministry data. The daily cases stood at 17,296. The recovery rate is 58.24%.
Of the new deaths, 192 were in Maharashtra, 64 in Delhi, 45 in TN, 18 in Gujarat, 15 each in West Bengal and UP, 12 in Andhra, 10 in Haryana, eight in MP, seven in Punjab, six in Karnataka, five in Telangana, four in Rajasthan and two in Jammu & Kashmir.