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Transcript - RECOVERY trial: Dexamethasone


01 January 2021


1 March 2021



The NIHR-supported RECOVERY trial has shown that dexamethasone significantly reduces the risk of dying from COVID-19 for patients requiring respiratory intervention.

"This is a the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. This is an extremely welcome result."

Prof Peter Horby, Chief Investigator.

"It is the only drug so far to reduce mortality - and it reduces it significantly. It is a major breakthrough." Prof Peter Horby.

2,104 hospitalised patients were randomised to dexamethasone once per day for 10 days. Results were compared with 4,321 patients randomised to usual care alone.

Dexamethasone reduced the risk of dying by one-third in ventilated patients.

By one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only.

While there was no benefit among patients who did not need respiratory intervention.

Based on these results, 1 death would be prevented by treatment of around 8 ventilated patients, or around 25 patients requiring oxygen alone.

"The survival benefit is clear and quite large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so this treatment should become standard of care in these patients."

"Dexamethasone is cheap and widely available and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide." Prof Peter Horby.

NIHR has played a key role in RECOVERY.

The study is jointly funded by UKRI and NIHR.

While delivery of the trial and recruitment of patients is being directly supported by NIHR across 176 NHS sites.

"This is the most important trial result for COVID-19 so far. It shows significant reduction in mortality in those requiring oxygen or ventilation from a widely available, safe and well known drug."

"We should all be grateful to the patients who volunteered and those who made this trial possible. It will save lives around the world." Prof Chris Whitty.

Find out more about NIHR-supported research into COVID-19.