AN arthritis drug has reportedly been found to cut deaths by two-thirds in elderly Covid patients – with doctors claiming thousands of lives could be saved.
The daily pill has been noted as a possibly powerful tool in fighting the virus, which could reduce deaths by 71 per cent.
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Those patients with moderate or severe forms of coronavirus could find the drug drastically helpful in beating the illness, research has claimed.
It is marketed under the name Olumiant, and called baricitinib.
The drug is relatively new but is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
In February London-based BenevolentAI examined it for signs it could help beat Covid.
Research continues but experts have cited promising indications it could prove useful.
Yesterday NHS cancer specialist Professor Justin Stebbing, of Imperial College London, told the Daily Mail: "The history of treatments for Covid has not left many drugs standing.
"What has been left standing is two British-discovered drugs."
Documented in the journal Science Advances, results come from patients hospitalised with Covid-19 pneumonia at two Italian and Spanish hospitals.
A NEW HOPE
Professor Volker Lauschke, who led the study, said: "These results are especially encouraging seeing as the study included a large cohort of elderly patients, a group often excluded."
It comes as the UK has suffered its deadliest Saturday during the Covid second wave after 462 more people died bringing total fatalities to 51,766.
And the grim figures released today show that cases have increased by 26,860 – with a total of 1,344,356 now infected by the killer bug.
Experts said the spike in confirmed cases was almost certainly due to a "last hurrah" as Brits partied before lockdown hit on November 5.
Government scientists said today that England's lockdown should end as planned on December 2.
And there are hopes the strict shutdown has been working, with the R rate – which measures the average number of people a coronavirus patient infects – falling back below 1.
The crucial value is now estimated to be 0.9 across the country according to the Covid Symptom Study app while Sage's most recent estimate, published yesterday, is that the R rate is somewhere between 1.1 and 1.3.
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