Making this available to the world is a big thing... because it was the first treatment that improved survival for a global pandemic, and it doesn’t cost any money - Martin Landray MB ChB


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How the UK found the first effective Covid-19 treatment — and saved a million lives

Peter Horby couldn’t believe his eyes.

He’d just gotten his first glimpse of new data from the United Kingdom’s Recovery Trial, an experiment enrolling tens of thousands of patients at dozens of hospitals for clinical trials investigating Covid-19 therapies.

Horby and his Oxford University colleague Martin Landray had dreamed up the trial program in March 2020. Nearly three months later, more than 35,000 people were dead in the UK (and more than 100,000 in the US), and Horby and Landray were still hunting for the world’s first lifesaving treatment for the novel coronavirus.

Now Horby was looking at the results of a Recovery Trial project testing dexamethasone, a cheap,…

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 How the UK found the first effective Covid-19 treatment — and saved a million lives

The United Kingdom is not a pandemic success story. But its massive Covid-19 trials program is.


According to preliminary findings shared with WHO (and now available as a preprint), for patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.

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