The New York Times (9/2, Rabin) reports, “International clinical trials published on Wednesday confirm the hope that cheap, widely available steroid drugs can help seriously ill patients survive” COVID-19. JAMA published five papers concerning the use of steroids to treat people with severe COVID-19, including a meta-analysis and an editorial that called the studies an “important step forward in the treatment of patients with” COVID-19. Dr. Howard C. Bauchner, the editor-in-chief of JAMA, said, “Clearly, now steroids are the standard of care.” The new studies can be found here, here, and here.
Reuters (9/2, Kelland, Nebehay) reports researchers conducted a pooled analysis of seven international trials and concluded that corticosteroids can reduce the risk of death by 20% in critically ill patients with COVID-19. The trials tested dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, and methylprednisolone. Citing the studies, the WHO issued new guidance recommending the use of steroids to treat severe cases of COVID-19.
The Washington Post (9/2, Guarino) reports, “WHO’s decision brings the international agency in line with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, which earlier this summer released guidelines for clinicians to use a synthetic steroid, dexamethasone, to treat hospitalized patients who require ventilators or oxygen.” Although “providing a strong foundation for corticosteroid treatment, the studies left several questions unanswered,” such as how to more clearly determine “which patients are most likely to be helped.”