New studies clarify what drugs help, hurt for COVID-19
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Fresh studies give more information about what treatments do or don’t work for COVID-19, with high-quality methods that give reliable results.

Here are highlights of recent treatment developments:


• Oxford researchers tested a type of steroid widely used to tamp down inflammation, which can become severe and prove fatal in later stages of COVID-19.

• Reduced deaths by 36% for patients sick enough to need breathing machines. It curbed the risk of death by 18% for patients needing just supplemental oxygen.

• However, it seemed harmful at earlier stages or milder cases of illness: 18% of those on the drug died versus 14% of those given usual care.


• The same Oxford study also tested HCQ in a rigorous manner and researchers previously said it did not help hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

• After 28 days, about 25.7% on hydroxychloroquine had died versus 23.5% given usual care -- a difference so small it could have occurred by chance

• Two other experiments found that early treatment with the drug did not help outpatients with mild COVID-19.


• The only other therapy that’s been shown to help COVID-19 patients is remdesivir, an antiviral that shortens hospitalization by about four days on average.

• Gilead Sciences has started testing an inhaled version that would allow it to be tried in less ill COVID-19 patients to try to keep them from getting sick enough to need hospitalization.

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