Dexamethasone and Covid-19.
Recent news that a commonly used and readily available steroid, dexamethasone, can be effective in helping to prevent deaths from serious cases of Covid-19 is exciting and very positive. It is not a cure, but it is an important development.
It is also the first in what we believe will be a series of valuable developments arising from research into the causes and treatment of the current pandemic.
The main cause of death from Covid-19 is an over-reaction by the immune system that leads to extensive damage in the lungs and other body systems. Deaths have occurred at all ages and in people with serious underlying conditions and in those with no known conditions. Why some cases of Covid-19 are life threatening while others are hardly recognised is one of the biggest puzzles yet to be understood.
We know at present that the most at-risk groups include the elderly, those with serious underlying conditions, especially conditions affecting the respiratory system such as cystic fibrosis, and those on any high level of immuno-suppressant treatment such as those used in some cancer treatments and after organ transplantation, and stem cell transplants.
Early in “lock-down” we published a short resume of the current thinking by MS experts issued through Association of British Neurologists on which of the MS drugs used in relapsing phases of MS might be associated with lower or higher levels of risk. There is much more to be learned, and as our funds recover, we intend to offer research grants for further exploration of the many issues that arise from all our experiences of Covid-19 and its impact in MS.