Huntsville Hospital reacts to research in England using steroids to treat coronavirus

Huntsville Hospital reacts to research in England using steroids to treat coronavirus
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Researchers in England says they have evidence a steroid called Dexamethasone can help patients with coronavirus survive.

Its used in serious cases of the virus and reduced deaths by 35% in patients that were on breathing machines.

Dr. Ali Hassoun, an Infectious Disease Specialist at Huntsville Hospital, is using the steroid prednisone to treat some of its coronavirus patients. However, he said there still isn't enough research to know it's effectiveness .

"These are the ones within the ICU have a lot of inflammation, might be intubated, having fever and other markers of inflammation," he explained.

They have not used Dexamethasone so far.

Hassoun explained, however, he would only give to steroids to the sickest patients because the medication can have adverse effects and if they're at a hospital, they can be monitored, but it can help fight inflammation.

"We need to use it wisely. We need to use it in the right population, so everybody can benefit from it," he said.

Hassoun said, currently, steroids are pretty widely available and affordable. He doesn't know if that could change if they're proven to help seriously ill coronavirus patients.

Researchers in England estimate the drug would prevent death in one in every eight patients treated while on a breathing machine. The drug there was administered through an IV.

Hassoun said since the first coronavirus case was announced in Alabama back in March, research has come a long way. He says there isn't one treatment people should feel comfortable with just yet, and you should still try to avoid getting sick.

"We don't have a bullet proof treatment. We don't have a treatment where we can be comfortably saying this is the best thing we can definitely use it and our patient is going to be good," he added.

Hassoun said the study is promising, but he'd like to see more data before saying for sure steroids can help patients with the coronavirus.


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