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UW Doctor uses possible breakthrough steroid treatment on COVID-19 patient

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A doctor at UW Health tells 27 News he has utilized a new drug being touted as a potential treatment for COVID-19 on one of his patients.

Dr. William Ehlenbach says he's encouraged by preliminary studies on Dexamethasone.

Researchers in the United Kingdom say the widely available steroid could help some of the sickest coronavirus patients.

"In ventilated patients with COVID-19, the drug Dexamethasone, a 10 day treatment of that, which is a tablet or an injuection, reduces the risk of death by about 35%," said Professor Peter Hornby, a lead researcher in the Oxford study.

While researchers are encouraged by the results, the findings are still preliminary, and have not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Because of what we know of this study, I think for me, I think we've reached a point where the evidence of benefit seems significant," said Dr. Ehlenbach.

Dr. Ehlenbach tells us he has only used the treatment on one patient, and it is too early to tell long-term results.

Researchers say the steroid does not work on everyone, and the benefits are mostly seen in patients on ventilators. Patients who did not require oxygen and had good working lungs have not seen any benefit.

Because there are many questions about the new treatment, researchers say people treating COVID-19 at home should not take Dexamethasone.

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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