XJTLU Research Indicates No Clinical Benefit for Corticosteroid Treatment of COVID-19

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A new study led by a Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) researcher in the wake of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic indicates that for patients with mild COVID-19, prescribing corticosteroids has no clinical benefit.

The small-sample observational study of 31 patients with mild COVID-19 was conducted in designated hospitals in Wuhu, Anhui province, China, from 24 January to 24 February, with 11 of these patients receiving corticosteroid treatment.

Statistical analysis showed no association between the virus clearance time, length of hospital stay, or duration of symptoms with corticosteroid use.

The researcher, Dr Lei Zha, is a critical care specialist in Wuhu and is undertaking a PhD project on antimicrobial resistant bacteria, supervised by Dr Boris Tefsen (Department of Biological Sciences) and Professor Elmer Villaneuva (Department of Health and Environmental Sciences) at XJTLU.

Dr Zha has led a team of authors that produced this paper on the COVID-19 patients, which the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) has just highlighted and is publishing.

“We analysed data from patients in Wuhu, and we didn’t find association between corticosteroid use and clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19, which means no harm, no benefit,” Dr Zha said.

“However, all the patients enrolled in our research had mild disease, so we only can conclude corticosteroids didn’t affect clinical outcomes in COVID-19 patients without ARDS (Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome). Patients with a combination of COVID-19 and ARDS may benefit from corticosteroids but clinical evidence is still required to support this.”

This research also found that patients with both hepatitis B and COVID-19 were shown to have the virus longer in their bodies than patients with COVID-19 only.  The authors indicated that this finding requires further study.

Laureate Professor Nick Talley, editor-in-chief of the MJA stated that this article of research is one of two articles that are being published pre-print by the journal, and that it would be published in the next available print edition of the MJA.

“To ensure rapid and broad dissemination, the article preprints have been uploaded online to mja.com.au and a commentary has been published in InSight+,” wrote Professor Talley.

“We have also shared the information with the WHO with the authors’ permission.”

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