06:20PM, Tuesday 16 June 2020
A drug that reduces the chances of death by coronavirus has been identified by British scientists through clinical trials, the Prime Minister announced today.
Speaking from Downing Street at the daily press briefing this afternoon (Monday), Boris Johnson announced that the cheap and widely available drug dexamethasone, which can be found in almost every hospital in the country, has been proven to reduce the chances of death in patients with breathing difficulties.
It was revealed at the briefing that the discovery was made following the ‘worlds biggest’ clinical trial, which saw 11,500 patients trial six different drugs over the past weeks across the UK.
The trial found that the steroid, which has existed for about 60 years, reduced the risk of death in patients on ventilators by 35 per cent, and reduced risk of death for patients on oxygen by 20 per cent.
The treatment, which can be administered via tablets or injections, is not effective on those with minor symptoms, and cannot prevent people from catching the virus. It is only effective on those in hospital with the most severe symptoms.
Calling it the ‘biggest breakthrough yet’ in the search for a treatment, Mr Johnson said: “Today there is genuine cause to celebrate a remarkable British scientific achievement, the benefits it will bring, not just in this country but around the world.”
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NHS data shows 187 people were being cared for at the trust’s three hospitals – Wexham Park, Heatherwood and Frimley Park – as of Tuesday, February 23.