New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: With over eight million confirmed COVID infections recorded worldwide till now alongside more than 4,41,000 fatalities, the struggle to find the cure to the vile contagion infection has achieved a rare breakthrough in the United Kingdom.

In a clinical trial to test the potential treatment for COVID-`19 called RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 therapy), it was found that Dexamethasone – a steroid drug available worldwide typically used to reduce inflammation – reduced deaths by up to one-third in severely ill-ventilated COVID patients.

The observations led by a team from Oxford University – part of world’s biggest trial testing the existing medications on COVID patients – showed that for patients on ventilators, Dexamethasone cut the risk of death by one-third, from 40% to 28%. While for those on oxygen-support, it cut the risk of death by a fifth, from 25% to 20%. The randomized trial had close to 2,100 patients who were given dexamethasone as compared to more than 4,300 who were not.

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Researchers, who tested the drug both orally and intravenously, have estimated that the drug can prevent one fatality in eight patients on ventilators, and can also avert one in twenty-five deaths in patients on Oxygen support. Unlike, Hydroxychloroquine, it, however, did not appear to help less ill patients.

In India, the Dexamethasone price is regulated under the Drug Price Control Order 2013, and costs around Rs 5-6 per injection. Whereas the tablets cost even less, barely 1.40 Rupees per tablet or Rs 28 per strip with 20 tablets, with its widely available generic type costing even less than a rupee per tablet.

“This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality — and it reduces it significantly,” Peter Horby, the member of UK’s COVID-fighting taskforce was quoted as saying by British media.

“This is the most important trial result for COVID-19 so far. Significiant reduction in mortality in those requiring oxygen or ventilation from a widely available, safe and well known drug. Many thanks to those who took part and made it happen. It will save lives around the world,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Witty wrote on Twitter.

India has a virtual monopoly over Hydroxychloroquine production, the drug which has been prescribed by ICMR as a COVID-prophylactic (preventative measure close contacts of a COVID patient and healthcare workers). However, as for Dexamethasone, India does not have as massive production line, but the one which it has already, is being considered self-sufficient.

"There are enough supplies in India. It's been used for over four decades in several indications, and is very affordable," Pankaj Patel, chairman of Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, the largest manufacturer of the steiroid drug, was quoted as saying by Times of India.

Posted By: Talib Khan