Scientists have found a possible breakthrough drug that can save lives of one in 25 Covid patients, which reduces the need for mechanical ventilators.
Tocilizumab, which has been made available to the NHS to treat Covid patients has seen early results in January from another clinical trial which significantly reduced the risk of death.
The early results also showed that patients time spent in hospital was reduced by up to 10 days. Researchers found that when a steroid called, dexamethasone, tocilizumab reduced the absolute risk of death by four percentage points.
When patients used oxygen along with dexamethasone, the drug reduced the mortality rate by 14%, and reduced hospital admission time by five days.
Professor Martin Landray, of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and joint chief investigator in the trial said, “The results from the Recovery trial clearly show the benefits of tocilizumab and dexamethasone in tackling the worst consequences of Covid-19, improving survival, shortening hospital stay, and reducing the need for mechanical ventilators.
“Used in combination, the impact is substantial.
“This is good news for patients and good news for the health services that care for them in the UK and around the world.”
Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and joint chief investigator for Recovery said, “Previous trials of tocilizumab had shown mixed results, and it was unclear which patients might benefit from the treatment.
“We now know that the benefits of tocilizumab extend to all Covid patients with low oxygen levels and significant inflammation.
“The double impact of dexamethasone plus tocilizumab is impressive and very welcome.”
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said, “Today’s excellent news is further proof the UK is at the forefront of the global mission to find safe and effective treatments for this terrible virus.
“I want to thank all those who have played a part in generating these tremendous results from the British scientists and researchers behind the trial, to the thousands of patients who took part across the country.
“We are working quickly and closely with colleagues across the health system and sector to ensure every NHS patient who needs this treatment should be able to access it reducing further pressures on the NHS and potentially saving thousands of lives.”
The Times of Israel were told by researchers at Tel Aviv’s Medical Center, said the development was a “huge breakthrough” in treating the virus.
Phase 1 of the drug trial called EXO-C24, seems to suggest that the drug can help Covid patients to recover within 5 days, according to local reports.