Researchers say that dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is the first drug to be shown to improve COVID-19 survival.

The study, which the Associated Press points out is the same one that previously determined that the Trump-touted hydroxychloroquine was not effective, found that dexamethasone had reduced the number of deaths by up to one third in hospitalized patients who were severely ill. 

University of Oxford's Peter Horby, a chief investigator for the trial, praised the "extremely welcome" findings in a statement.

"The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients," Horby said. "Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide."

Martin Landray, another chief investigator, echoed Horby's optimism regarding use of the steroid and touted its immediate availability.

"Since the appearance of COVID-19 six months ago, the search has been on for treatments that can improve survival, particularly in the sickest patients," Landray said. "These preliminary results from the RECOVERY trial are very clear—dexamethasone reduces the risk of death among patients with severe respiratory complications."

Per an Oxford press release, here's a more thorough breakdown of the 2,104-patient trial's findings:

Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients (rate ratio 0.65 [95% confidence interval 0.48 to 0.88]; p=0.0003) and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only (0.80 [0.67 to 0.96]; p=0.0021). There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support (1.22 [0.86 to 1.75; p=0.14).

The U.S. is now counting more than 2 million total cases of COVID-19 with a death total nearing 120,000. Recent days have seen the Trump administration clamping down on a false narrative of having beaten the virus, a spineless direction of messaging that's been detrimentally influential in parts of the country that are proceeding with premature reopening tactics whilst pretending the virus has magically disappeared.

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