What is Dexamethasone? Virologist explains drug reducing risk of death from Covid-19

16 June 2020, 18:30

By Seán Hickey

A consultant virologist gave LBC listeners the ins and outs of Dexomethasone, the drug being tipped as reducing the risk of death by Covid-19.

Dr Chris Smith is the host of The Naked Scientist podcast and also is a consultant virologist at the University of Cambridge.

He told Eddie Mair that "dexamethasone is a steroid, it's not the kind of steroid that a bodybuilder might illicitly take it's the kind of steroid that's used to control the immune system."

"What we didn't know is that it could produce this sort of outcome in people with coronavirus" he said, which has led to the greatest breakthrough to date in the world's coronavirus battle.

He referenced the findings of the team behind the study that has been the steroid to the front of everyone's mind, telling Eddie that "if you give a modest dose of this to people who are severely unwell...you can reduce the mortality rate by up to a third which is a really dramatic difference."

Dexamethasone was found to reduce the risk of death by up to 35%
Dexamethasone was found to reduce the risk of death by up to 35%. Picture: Time

Dr Smith was elated with the findings, telling Eddie how impressive the news is.

"We've got a drug that is easily accessible, its very very cheap, cheap as chips and works with very few side effects and does produce this dramatic difference."

The virologist told LBC that it was a "wonderful piece of news to end the day on."

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