Results of Recovery drug trial also credited with successful treatment of 22,000 people in the UK, says NHS England

Dexamethasone – the inexpensive steroid that quickly emerged as a highly effective Covid therapy thanks to a large drug testing programme pioneered by UK scientists – has so far saved the lives of an estimated million people globally, including 22,000 in the UK, according to NHS England.

Called Recovery, the world’s largest randomised Covid-19 drug trial commenced in March 2020 to evaluate the suitability of a suite of different drugs to help hospitalised Covid patients. The study has since been carried out by thousands of doctors and nurses on tens of thousands of patients in hospitals across Britain.

As Covid-19 emerged in late 2019, Oxford University’s Peter Horby, an infectious disease specialist, had begun working on Covid drug trials in Wuhan. But studies were shelved as fierce lockdown restrictions dried up infections in China. Meanwhile, cases began to pop up in Europe.

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