The battle against the coronavirus pandemic has been a long drawn out one, with the end not really in sight. However, there was positive news in the fight when new data from the UK-led clinical trial known as RECOVERY showed that giving low doses of the generic steroid drug dexamethasone to patients reduced death rates by around a third among those with the most severe cases of infection.
The results, which are being described as a major breakthrough, has caused study authors to suggest that the drug should immediately become the standard medicine being prescribed for patients who are being treated in hospitals for the pandemic.
However, the steroid Dexamethasone is banned by the World Anti-doping Agency, a ruling which earlier in the year caused serious headaches to India's javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang who failed a dope test for the said steroid.
According to the WADA rules on their website, "All glucocorticoids are prohibited when administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes."
The list of the banned glucocorticoids includes:
The Asian Games bronze medal-winning javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang had claimed that the root cause was a sore throat and is confident of being cleared in the disciplinary hearing.
“I had severe sore throat and before Indian GP 5 last year, I consulted a private physician in Patiala after taking permission from team management. The doctor gave me two medicines – Moxitas 500 and beta dexamethasone. The dope test result is because of this medicine,” Kang was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I also declared these two medicines in the dope sample collection form when people from Nada took the samples. I have not gained any advantage in my performance from these medicines. So, there is no fault on my part. I will explain this to the Nada and I hope I should be cleared of this doping charge,” the 31-year-old had said.
Dexamethasone is a low-cost steroid and is available widely, including in India. It is known to be used to treat inflammations and conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, lupus, allergic reactions and skin conditions. India has not officially recommended its use so far.
Dexamethasone, which has been used since the early 1960s to treat a wide range of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma, is a prescription medication that is available as an oral tablet, oral solution, eye drops, and eardrops.
The oral tablet is used to treat conditions that cause inflammation, conditions related to immune system activity and hormone deficiency. It belongs to a class of drugs called steroids.
It is a low-cost steroid and is available widely, including in India. It is known to be used to treat inflammations and conditions such as arthritis, blood disorders, lupus, allergic reactions and skin conditions. India has not officially recommended its use so far.