Dallas Man Believes Possible COVID-19 Treatment Helped Saved His Life

According to the 44-year-old, Brazilian doctors gave him a widely used steroid drug to help him beat COVID-19

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Encouraging news of a possible treatment for COVID-19.

Researchers in the U.K. say a widely available steroid drug may be key in helping treat the sickest patients.

A Dallas family said their story is proof that the drug could be key to helping others recover.

44-year-old Alex Fernandes spends half of his time in Brazil for work and he was in Brazil when the coronavirus took hold on his body.

"I stepped off the airplane and was feeling a little off," said Fernandes.

In days, he could barely breathe, saying a CAT scan showed 85% percent of his lungs were inflamed.

Doctors were about to put him on a ventilator when he said they decided to treat him with a common corticosteroid, prednisolone, typically used to treat inflammation.

He said his doctors had just read about the possible treatment in a study out of China.

His wife Becca said she and her two daughters had no choice but to wait at their home in Dallas.

"I had my phone by my side, just waiting, as we all were, hoping."

They both said they were relieved, even surprised by how quickly Alex's condition improved. Doctors decided he no longer needed a ventilator.

"He really was completely back to himself, talking, laughing," said Becca.

Those results are similar to the ones summarized in this new study out of the University of Oxford.

In the summary, they said they found the steroid drug dexamethasone reduced death by up to one third in hospitalized patients severe respiratory complications of COVID-19.

Infectious disease clinical pharmacist at UNT Health Science Center Meenakshi Ramanathan told NBC 5 corticosteroids might be able to play a vital role in treating the severely ill COVID-19 patients.

"If you look at COVID-19, it tends to cause acute respiratory distress syndrome. We also tend to see an increase in super inflammation that is occuring so it tends to help in those situations," said Ramanathan.

Currently, there is no approved treatment for COVID-19.

The family hopes scientists in the United States take a closer look at the drug they believe made their little life moments, possible, once again.

"Everyone should know about this. It's very important," said Alex, who said he the steroid drug was part of a combination of drugs administered during his hospital stay.

Researchers released only a summary of their data. Outside experts around the world are waiting to review the full results.

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