Home / News / India /  Some readily-available steroids can be life-saving in severe covid cases: WHO

NEW DELHi: Readily available and lowcost steroids can help in treatment of severely ill covid-19 positive patients, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday. Based on data from eight randomized clinical trials of systemic corticosteroids for covid-19, the WHO strongly recommended systemic corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe and critical covid-19.

The world body also cautioned against using corticosteroids on patients with non-severe covid-19.

Citing scientific evidences, WHO suggested that systemic corticosteroids may reduce 28-day mortality in patients with critical covid-19. The studies estimated 87 fewer deaths per 1000 patients with use of systemic corticosteroids. Also in those with severe disease, there were estimated 67 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients.

This guidance was developed in collaboration with the non-profit Magic Evidence Ecosystem Foundation (MAGIC), which provided methodologic support to develop and disseminate living guidance for covid-19 drug treatments. Dr Rohit Sarin from Delhi's National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases is one of the members of the guidance development group.

Earlier in June, the WHO had cited results of initial clinical trials at Oxford University that showed dexamethasone, a steroid, to be lifesaving for critically ill covid-19 patients. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce deaths by a third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about a fifth.

Corticosteroids are listed in the WHO model list of essential medicines, readily available globally at a low cost.

The apex global public health agency has said that there are ongoing uncertainties about covid-19 treatment modalities and there are opportunities for future research.

The WHO said that long-term effect of systemic corticosteroids on mortality and functional outcomes in covid-19 survivors are unknown and will be a subject of future analyses of the evidence.

The clinical effects of systemic corticosteroids in patients with non-severe covid-19 (i.e. pneumonia without hypoxaemia) remain unclear and may be studied, the WHO said. It also said that all investigational therapies for severe and critical covid-19 including remdesivir should be compared with systemic corticosteroids or evaluated in combination with systemic corticosteroids as against systemic corticosteroids alone.

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