The Government’s public-health performance may not look good, but Britain’s scientists are still top-notch when it comes to inventing and discovering drugs. On June 16th researchers at the University of Oxford announced that they had identified the first drug proven to reduce mortality from covid-19. Dexamethasone, a cheap steroid, reduces deaths by a third among the most severely ill patients. It is set to become the standard of care for the National Health Service (NHS) across Britain. Doctors around the world will, undoubtedly, follow suit.
The results came from recovery(Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 therapy), the world’s biggest clinical trial for covid-19 drugs. The trial, run by Oxford and the NHS, is testing a range of drugs on covid-19 patients in 176 hospitals across Britain. Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory that is already used to treat a variety of health problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, asthma and some cancers.