Battling COVID With Steroids


Mei Dotzler, Contributor

New studies have shown that the use of steroids has proven to be the most effective at treating COVID-19 to date.

As the pandemic hit the U.S. full force in March, a vaccine has been ordered with haste, and scientists have been working non-stop to find one. While a universal cure is still in the works, researchers are looking for ways to pacify the fatal symptoms. With the World Health Organization’s (WHO) approval, a series of clinical trials took place, where cheap steroid drugs were given to severely ill COVID-19 patients, resulting in significantly improved survival rates. These trials proved that the steroids, dexamethasone and hydrocortisone, were equally capable of treating the virus, and effectively.

Steroids have anti-inflammatory effects and placate the immune system, hence why they’re used for other infections like asthma and arthritis. Dexamethasone, the most available and inexpensive steroid, has reduced the number of deaths of COVID patients on ventilators by a third, and a fifth of people with oxygen support.

However, although successful in most cases, scientists are worried that the drugs could prohibit the body from fighting off COVID correctly. Steroids can be harmful to elders, which is the majority of those affected by COVID-19; thus, the WHO recommended the drugs were only given to those extremely sick. Those with mild COVID-19 symptoms were not treated, as the lack of data does not show whether or not they would benefit.

Even with very optimistic results, this data is still very new. Absolute conclusions shouldn’t be made without more tests and evidence. Although not a definite cure, steroids have proven the ability of decreasing mortality and saving people’s lives, and this information should be expanded upon.