Last year, anti-inflammatory drug Dexamethasone emerged as a potential life-saver in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The steroid has been found to cut the risk of death for Covid patients by 33 per cent for those on ventilators — and by a fifth for those on oxygen therapy.

Now, a study by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) estimates that the inexpensive drug may have saved the lives of a million Covid patients worldwide, including 22,000 in the UK alone.

“It’s clear that dexamethasone has had a big impact,” Peter Horby, an infectious disease specialist at Recovery, the world’s largest randomised Covid drug trial, told The Guardian.

“A million is a big number… It’s an estimate that could well be lower than that or higher than that.”

The drug trial was set up by Horby and Oxford professor of medicine and epidemiology Martin Landray. It took them less than 100 days to produce staggering results about the generic steroid’s use.

Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, which represents hospitals in England, added: “As the science progresses at pace, this is a good lesson for how we can turn cutting-edge research into prompt action to best respond to the next phase of the pandemic, including supporting people who experience long-term symptoms from the disease.”

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