- Michelle Roberts
- Health Editor, BBC
Experts in the United Kingdom identified two medicines capable of reducing deaths among the sickest patients from Covid-19 by a quarter.
These are two anti-inflammatory drugs –tocilizumab y sarilumab– administered by drip, saving one life for every 12 people receiving the treatment, say researchers who have carried out a test in the intensive care units of the UK National Health Service (NHS) English).
Experts say the supplies are already available across the UK, so they can be used immediately to save hundreds of lives.
There are more than 30,000 COVID-19 patients in UK hospitals, 39% more than in April.
In addition to saving more lives, treatments speed up the recovery of patients and reduce the time critically ill patients spend in intensive care by about a week.
Both seem to work equally well, and their favorable effect is in addition to that already achieved with a cheap steroid drug called dexamethasone.
Although the drugs are not cheap – they cost between US $ 1,000 and US $ 1,350 per patient – experts point out that the advantage of using them is clear and emphasize that your price is less than the cost per day of an intensive care bed, of around US $ 2,700.
“For every 12 patients you treat with these drugs, you would hope to save a life. It is a great effect,” says Professor Anthony Gordon, Principal Investigator at Imperial College London.
In the REMAP-CAP trial conducted in six different countries, including the United Kingdom, with around 800 intensive care patients:
- Almost 36% of intensive care covid-19 patients who received standard care died
- The new drugs cut that number by a quarter to 27% when administered within 24 hours after patients were admitted to intensive care.
“The fact that there is now another drug that can help reduce the mortality of Covid-19 patients is very welcome news and another positive development in the ongoing fight against the virus,” said Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director. of the NHS.
UK Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock also welcomed the finding. “Today’s results are another historic advance in the search for a way out of this pandemic and, when added to the arsenal of vaccines and treatments that are already being implemented, they will play an important role in defeating this virus,” he said.
The drugs reduce inflammation, which can be accelerated in COVID-19 patients and cause damage to the lungs and other organs.
Experts are advising doctors to given to any coronavirus patient whose condition is deteriorating, despite receiving dexamethasone, and need intensive care.
Tocilizumab and sarilumab have already been added by the government to the list of products whose export is restricted, which prohibits companies from buying drugs for UK patients and selling them at a higher price in another country.
The findings of this research have not yet been reviewed by other experts or published in a medical journal.
Now you can receive notifications from BBC News Mundo. Download our app and activate them so you don’t miss our best content.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.