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Cardiff and Vale UHB plays key role in COVID-19 Dexamethasone breakthrough


Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has made a substantial contribution to a major treatment breakthrough for COVID-19.

The health board was the first in the UK to open the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY) trial, which found that the low-dose steroid treatment, Dexamethasone reduces deaths of hospitalised patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

The trial, which was implemented by the University of Oxford, found that dexamethasone reduced deaths by one third in ventilated patients, and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen. Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19, with the 10-day treatment costing approximately only £5 per patient.

Based on the results, the drug would prevent one death of approximately eight patients on ventilators, and one of around 25 patients on oxygen.


Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and one of the Chief Investigators for the trial, said: ‘Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. This is an extremely welcome result. The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients. Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.’ 

Cardiff and Vale UHB was a leading recruiter to the RECOVERY trial with more than 180 patients enrolled at the University Hospital of Wales and University Hospital Llandough. 

It is one of a number of trials that the health board has been delivering to find effective treatments for patients in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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