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Scientists from the United States (US) have suggested that steroids such as dexamethasone should be used for the treatment of only the sickest Covid19 patients.

The researchers, mostly from Washington University School of Medicine and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, made an analysis of the levels of the immune system protein cytokines, and other health markers in 168 adults with Covid19, 26 adults with flu and 16 healthy volunteers.

According to the research, published in the journal Science Advances, fewer than 5% of the Covis19 patients, including some of the sickest individuals, had the life-threatening, hyperinflammatory immune response, known as the cytokine storm syndrome.

The researchers explained that cytokine storms develop when excess or abnormally regulated levels of cytokine proteins in the body lead to hyperinflammation and tissue damage.

They also claimed that most adults with moderate-to-severe Covid19 have a suppressed immune response against the novel coronavirus rather than life-threatening hyper-inflammation

While dexamethasone and other steroids are prescribed to treat cytokine storms, they said these drugs can backfire in patients whose immune response is already suppressed.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 53.7 million confirmed Covid19 cases in total since the start of the pandemic, while over 1.3 million people have lost their lives due to the infection.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday warned that there was “a long way to go” in getting the virus under control, globally.

“There is no doubt that a vaccine will be a vital tool for controlling the pandemic, and we’re encouraged by the preliminary results of clinical trials released this week. Never in history has vaccine research progressed so quickly. We must apply the same urgency and innovation to ensuring that all countries benefit from this scientific achievement,” Tedros said.

“But we have a long way to go. The world cannot put all its eggs in one basket, and neglect the many other tools at our disposal,” he added.

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