Steroid should still work on new COVID variant - English medical official

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LONDON (Reuters) - A cheap steroid drug that can help save the lives of patients with COVID-19 should work on patients infected with the new more infectious variant of the coronavirus found in Britain, a senior medical official in England said on Monday.

Dexamethasone, a generic drug used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in diseases such as arthritis, has been found to cut death rates among the most severely ill coronavirus patients admitted to hospital.

"We would expect Dexamethasone to work perfectly because this is about reducing your own immune response and calming that down so that your body can get over this virus," Susan Hopkins, senior medical adviser at Public Health England told a press conference. "We would expect Dexamethasone will still be effective in reducing mortality with this virus."

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Andrew MacAskill)