WHO Recommends Use of Corticosteroids to Treat Critical COVID-19 Patients

New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended systemic corticosteroids to treat patients with severe and critical COVID-19.

Corticosteroid is a class of drug that lowers inflammation and modulates immune system activity — for treating COVID-19 in critically ill patients.

The health agency has also updated its guidance for healthcare professionals and decision-makers on the use of corticosteroids in COVID-19 patients.

The guidance coincides with the publication of three randomized trials and a meta-analysis on corticosteroids in JAMA.

The WHO recommends 6 mg of dexamethasone orally or intravenously daily or 50 mg of hydrocortisone intravenously every 8 hours for 7 to 10 days in the most seriously ill patients.

It has suggested not to use corticosteroids in the treatment of patients with non-severe COVID-19 as the treatment brought no benefits, and could even prove harmful. Treatment should be under supervision of a clinician.

The study, conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) Rapid Evidence Appraisal for COVID-19 Therapies (REACT) investigators, analyzed data from 1,703 patients enrolled in the trials.

In the meta-analysis, researchers examined the results of seven trials of corticosteroids versus usual care or placebo among over 1700 critically ill COVID-19 patients. They found that 28-day mortality rate, the primary outcome, was significantly lower among corticosteroid users (32% absolute mortality for corticosteroids vs. 40% assumed mortality for controls).

The studies provide evidence and hope for an effective, inexpensive, and safe treatment for COVID 19 Infection.

In a tremendous demonstration of global collaboration, clinician-scientists have pooled data from 121 hospitals in eight countries to find that inexpensive, widely available steroids improve the odds that very sick COVID-19 patients will survive the illness.

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