Recently, the world gladly received the news from the coordinators of the 'UK RECOVERY' COVID trial that a drug had been identified during the trial which improved the survival of individuals with severe COVID-19 infections.

The drug - known as dexamethasone - is a type of corticosteroid medication and is used to reduce the immune system response in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis and asthma. The results suggest that it reduced the risk of death by a third for patients who were on ventilators.

Interestingly, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that anti-inflammatory medications, like dexamethasone, may also be useful in the treatment of Parkinson's. In addition to considerable pre-clinical data demonstrating beneficial effects in models of Parkinson's, there is also evidence from two recent studies screening medical record databases that suggest anti-inflammatory drugs like dexamethasone may reduce the risk of developing Parkinson's. Whether this class of medication can slow the progression of the condition, however, is yet to be determined.

The Cure Parkinson's Trust is supporting a clinical trial which is evaluating another anti-inflammatory drug called azathioprine which is very similar to dexamethasone. This trial is being conducted by a research team led by Dr Caroline Williams-Gray at the University of Cambridge. The trial is called the AZA-PD study and it is set to begin soon after the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. Find out more about the AZA-PD trial here.

More Information:

The two studies suggesting dexamethasone may reduce risk of Parkinson's:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/acn3.580 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/pds.5015

Read more about the BBC news UK RECOVERY trial: 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53061281