Dexamethasone and remdesivir could compliment each other, says GlobalData

After receiving a world-first approval by the UK Government, following groundbreaking data showing it can reduce COVID-19 deaths among hospitalized patients, the inexpensive and widely available corticosteroid dexamethasone has been getting significant attention. While data supporting dexamethasone’s efficacy seem clear, the magnitude of its benefit remains modest. Further, additional studies are warranted so as to avoid the same roadblocks as hydroxychloroquine, where significant variations in results muddied the ability to determine its role in COVID-19 treatment, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Arafa Salam, PhD, Infectious Diseases Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The government-funded UK trial showed that dexamethasone reduced the risk of death in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%, reducing the total 28-day mortality rate by 17%. Although the data does identify an improvement in mortality, its place in COVID-19 treatment modalities remains unclear.”

One of dexamethasone’s key competitors, remdesivir, saw clinical improvement in 36 of 53 patients (68%); however, with dexamethasone mortality was reduced by 17%, while reductions in mortality with remdesivir trended downwards, the differences were not statistically significant.

Salam continued: “Something to consider is the combination of these two drugs, as they have differing mechanisms of actions, which could be complimentary, with remdesivir slowing damage due to the virus and dexamethasone slowing damage to a hyper-inflammatory state. This type of scheme is already being considered in trials with remdesivir and the anti-inflammatory IL-6 inhibitor tociluzimab, so the thought of the combination of remdesivir and dexamethasone isn’t too farfetched.”

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