On 16th of June, Researchers of Oxford university announced that they had identified the first drug proven to reduce mortality from COVID 19. Named as “Dexamethasone”, the life saving drug acts as a cheap steroid that reduces deaths by a third among the most severely ill patients. The drug is an inflammatory that it already used to treat a variety of health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, asthma and some cancers. It was included in COVID 19 trial as steroids were tried as a treatment for SARS, a related lung disease.
Nearly 6 months have passed since the first positive case COVID 19 was discovered in Wuhan, China. Today, the deadly virus infected nearly 80 lakh people and killed more than 4 lakh people across the globe. Now, this discovery of Dexamethasone is considered as the most promising developments in the recent times, even as over a 110 groups are involved in researching round the clock to find a potential vaccine to stop the spread of the virus and to cure it.
As the entire world is lauding this discovery of Oxford university, a report of The Lede , claimed that the doctors from Tamilnadu found a much effective drug two months prior but couldn’t get their hands involved in researching and in publishing papers on their findings due to their hectic schedule on treating COVID 19 patients and saving their lives.
The reports suggests that the Government doctors of Tamilnadu started using “Methylprednisolone”, from mid April to save critically ill patients and witnessing wondrous results. Dr. Raghunandan, professor of Medicine at Madras Medical College, has stated that Methylprednisolone is “faster acting” when it is compared to Dexamethasone. He said that both the drugs are steroids and produce inflammatory effects. Dr. Paranthaman, Professor of medicine at Kilpauk Medical college and hospital said that both Methylprednisolone and Dexamethasone are like sisters. He who dubbed Methylprednisolone as younger sister, said that younger sister is brighter than the older one (Dexamethasone). “Dexamethasone is longer acting and cheaper. Its effects can be felt for 36 to 48 hours. Methylprednisolone is short duration steroid that works for 24 to 36 hours” said the doctor who added that Methylprednisolone is more concentrated on lungs which is not known for many people.
Doctors at Kilpauk Medical College and hospital are preferring Methylprednisolone over Dexamethasone due to its targeted action. The latter is believed to spread and act body whereas the receptors of Methylprednisolone would target the lungs more. As we all know, COVID 19 is an infection that attacks lungs first, due to which doctors of Tamil nadu using Methylprednisolone for past two months.
The only advantage of using Dexamethasone for COVID 19 patient is that it can be found everywhere and cost of it is very cheap, says Dr. Paranthaman. “Methylprednisolone is best compared to Dexamethasone. Otherwise both can be both. Four mg of Dexamethasone is equal to sixteen mg of Dexamethasone. So you can use both as a daily dose” said the doctor who further added that there is no superiority in Dexamethasone over Methylprednisolone except its cheap cost and availability.
Dr. Paranthaman went on to add that the doctors of Tamil nadu are currently concentrated in saving lives rather than publishing papers. Dr. Raghunandan said that Methylprednisolone needs double blinds for approval to be announced as an effective drug to combat COVID 19 worldwide. “But we don’t have time to do these” said the doctor.
Source : The Lede