Japan’s health ministry has approved dexamethasone, a widely used steroid, as the second treatment for coronavirus (Reuters). The approval comes after the drug was proven to be effective in reducing the number of deaths caused by the coronavirus in Britain (Straits Times). The drug proved to reduce the chance of death by a third, on patients who were placed on ventilators (Japan Times). The drug is the first to demonstrate a significant reduction in patient mortality (Pharmaceutical Technology).
Dexamethasone is an inexpensive and accessible drug that is commonly used to treat a wide range of conditions, including lung disease (Japan Times). The drug is covered by health insurance and will be used to treat patients (Japan Times). The health ministry included dexamethasone and remdesivir, an antiviral drug, as treatment options in their revision of the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry handbook (Reuters). Scientists are considering this a major breakthrough in the coronavirus pandemic (Pharmaceutical Technology).