June 17 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) hailed as “great news” initial clinical trial results that showed a cheap and widely used steroid called dexamethasone can help save the lives of critically ill COVID-19 patients.
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement late on Tuesday.
“This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough.”
The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, “and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days,” it said.
“WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention. WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19,” the agency added. (Reporting by Michael Shields and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)