World's first COVID-19 treatment drug used in Leicester and Derbyshire

The world's first coronavirus treatment drug has been used on coronavirus patients at hospitals in Leicester and Derbyshire.

Dexamethasone - a low-dose steroid - has been hailed a breakthrough treatment by a Leicester medic who was part of the research that found it is the first drug to reduce deaths from coronavirus.

In March 2020, the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 therapy) trial was established as a randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including low-dose dexamethasone.

Researchers on the trial found that the drug reduced the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it reduced deaths by a fifth.

The Prime Minister confirmed that Leicester recruited more patients to take part in the national clinical trial than any other area in the country.

Almost 500 patients who were treated at one of Leicester's three acute hospitals - Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester General Hosptial and Glenfield Hospital - signed up to take part in the research.

The professor of respiratory medicines at Leicester's hospitals says figures suggest that the drug has already saved lives in the city.

120 patients from hospitals ran by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust also took part in the trial.

The steroid, normally used to treat asthma, chronic lung conditions and joint problems, can be given as a tablet or injection. It is affordable and readily available not only in this country but all over the world.

Dexamethasone has been tested as part of the Recovery trial. Credit: PA

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