Dexamethasone could have saved thousands of UK lives if effectiveness discovered earlier, say experts
A steroid commonly used to treat people and animals has been shown to be effective in combating the worst effects of COVID-19. Dexamethasone fights the immune response ‘cytokine storm’ in response to infection that damages the lungs of some sufferers and has been responsible for a majority of deaths.
The drug is not a guaranteed treatment, but experts says its use could have saved thousands of lives in the UK if its effectiveness had been understood.
Matt Hancock is trying to absorb credit for the discovery on behalf of the Tories in interviews this morning. However, the Tory government only increased the budget of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which funded the Oxford University research, by a paltry quarter in the ten years since the Tories came to power – a real-terms funding cut of around 4% compared to inflation (2010/11 budget £921.1m, 2018/19 budget £1,152.4m – and increase of around 25% vs inflation in the same period of around 29%).
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