The race for cures: a first drug to reduce mortality

La course aux remèdes: un premier médicament pour réduire la mortalité

A major breakthrough occurred recently when a first drug, dexamethasone, has demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing the mortality related to the COVID-19.

“It is the only drug that has demonstrated an effect on survival,” commented Dr. Michael Chassé, intensivist and researcher at the CHUM. The use of the drug has allowed to reduce up to one-third of the deaths in patients who were on life support. In patients who were receiving oxygen, the mortality rate has decreased by 20 %.

La course aux remèdes: un premier médicament pour réduire la mortalité

Michael Chased
Intensivist and researcher at the CHUM

The findings of a clinical study world have been recorded in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, after peer review, in the last week. Dr. Chased, however, stressed that the drug is neither effective nor indicated for prevention or when the patient is suffering from the mild form of the disease.

The WHO has called on the countries of the world to produce the molecule in large quantities. Japan has to approve it for the COVID-19.

For Dr. hunt and his colleagues, who participated in the clinical trial, the administration of dexamethasone in some patients of the CHUM, the confirmation of the effectiveness of the drug is ” exciting “.

Inexpensive

“This is a molecule that has existed since the 1960s. Therefore, there are no commercial interests [to sell]. It will not cost expensive to administer, it is available everywhere on the planet, it has a few side effects. ”

Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory to the family of corticosteroids used for years for immune system diseases, such as arthritis, skin diseases and asthma.

A treatment costs between $ 15 and $ 20 compared to some of the molecules that amount to several tens of thousands of dollars.

“Encouraging “

At the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS), the body that advises the Quebec government on which medicines to use in the fight against the virus, it is considered that the publication of the preliminary results is ” encouraging “.

Sylvie Bouchard, director of drug evaluation and technology for the purposes of reimbursement, speaks of a breakthrough ” very, very interesting.”

Now, “person [do] think that it is a miracle,” agrees Dr. Chased. Dexamethasone reduces the mortality in critically ill patients, but for others, it has not yet found effective medicine, to share the remdésivir, which reduces the length of hospital stay.

“We hope to find a molecule that heals everyone. ”

This thinks of that the doc Béliveau

La course aux remèdes: un premier médicament pour réduire la mortalité

Richard Béliveau
A doctor in biochemistry

In patients who develop severe forms of Covid-19, inflammation, excessively produced in response to the virus can cause more damage than the virus itself. The anti-inflammatory action of dexamethasone can reduce this damage to the organs and improves the chances of survival. It is an old drug, used often, and the effects are well documented clinically. Accessible, reliable, inexpensive, effective, what more to ask for a medicine ?

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