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A life-saving coronavirus drug has been found

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Dexamethasone is a cheap and widely available drug that can save the lives of patients who have become seriously ill with coronavirus, according to new research.

UK experts are calling this a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus. The low-dose steroid treatment can cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it can cut deaths by a fifth, the BBC reports. 

The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial that is testing existing treatments to see if they could also successfully work on the coronavirus. 

Research has shown that if this drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved.

The drug is also cheap enough meaning it could have huge benefits to poorer countries that are struggling with high numbers of COVID-19 patients.

Trust “Tru” Katsande/Unsplash

Most patients (19 out of 20) recover from coronavirus without being admitted to hospital, but some of those that do need oxygen or mechanical ventilation. It is these high-risk patients that dexamethasone could help. 

The drug is currently used to reduce inflammation in a range other conditions. It also appears to help stop some of the damage that happens when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive. This over-reaction is called cytokine storm and can be deadly. 

In the trial at Oxford University, 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone compared to more than 4,000 who didn’t receive it.

For patients on ventilators, it cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%. For patients needing oxygen, it cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.

Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: “This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough.”

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Lead researcher, Prof Martin Landray says the findings suggest that for every eight patients on ventilators you could save one life. For patients on oxygen, you could save one life for approx. every 20-25 people treated with the drug.

Pro Landray said: “There is a clear, clear benefit. The treatment is up to 10 days of dexamethasone and it costs about £5 per patient. So essentially it costs £35 to save a life. This is a drug that is globally available.”

Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus – those who don’t need help with their breathing.

Dexamethasone has been used since the early 1960s, treating a wide range of conditions and its new use for coronavirus could have massive impacts across the world. 

Currently, half of all COVID-19 patients require a ventilator do not survive, Dexamethasone could cut this number by a third which would have a massive impact. 

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Tributes pour in for ‘gorgeous’ mum killed in Liverpool dog attack

Police say five American bulldogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Ann Dunn / Facebook & Granada Reports

Tributes have been pouring in for the ‘gorgeous’ mum who was mauled to death by five dogs in Liverpool.

Ann Dunn, sixty-five, died after being attacked by five American bulldogs in a property on St. Brigids Crescent, Vauxhall.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics on Monday October 3rd at around 4:25pm. However, Ann’s injuries were too serious and she was pronounced as dead at the scene.

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Officers also confirmed that a thirty-one-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

Following the news of her death, people who knew Ann have paid their own tributes to the mum and grandmother on social media.

One person wrote on Facebook: “RIP gorgeous lady, still can’t believe it Ann. Had some good times with you I will never forget.”

She added: “I am all so heartbroken for you kids and family right now. Don’t want to even think how they feeling… So happy I got [sic] have old chat with you on Friday even though it was only for 10 minutes, keeping looking over your family.”

Another social media user added: “Heart breaking thinking of all the family, devastated for yous all. R.I.P lovely Ann.”

Ann Dunn / Facebook

Liverpool John Moores University, where Ann worked as a cleaner, also paid tribute to their ‘hard-working and dedicated’ employee.

They said: “The university community is absolutely shocked and devastated by this tragic loss and to lose Ann in this way is just heart-breaking. Ann was hard-working and dedicated and had so many friends across the organisation. It’s just awful and she will be terribly missed.

“Our thoughts at this time are with her family and loved-ones.”

Detective Inspector Katie Coote added: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

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Man arrested after woman killed by ‘five dogs’ in Liverpool

The dogs have since been ‘humanely destroyed’

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Granada Reports & BBC Breakfast

A man has been arrested after a woman was killed after she was attacked by five dogs in a house in Liverpool.

Merseyside Police were called out by paramedics yesterday (Monday October 3rd) after reports a sixty-three-year-old woman had been attacked by the animals inside a property down St. Brigid’s Crescent in Kirkdale.

The woman, who is yet to be formally identified, died at the scene following the attack at around 4.25pm. 

Police say five American bulldogs, which were found inside the property, were handed over and have now been humanely destroyed.

A thirty-one-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of owning a dog deemed to be dangerously out of control. He remains in custody.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing and a post-mortem will be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

Detective Inspector Katie Coote said: “This is clearly a very distressing incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the lady who died.

“Our enquiries remain ongoing as we seek to establish what has happened and I would urge anyone who could assist our enquiries to get in touch.”

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK on Twitter. Alternatively, they can be contacted via telephone on 0800 555 111 quoting reference 22000731247.

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New details about Greater Manchester’s Bee Network transport system revealed

The first fifty Bee Network buses are due to be rolled out in part of the region next year

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Transport for Greater Manchester

As the launch date for Greater Manchester’s highly-anticipated Bee Network draws ever closer, more details about the new transport system have been unveiled.

Mayor Andy Burnham unveiled the first look at the Bee Network’s fleet of electric buses last month, with the first fifty due to be rolled out across Wigan and Bolton on September 17th, 2023. 

The rest of the network will then be implemented across the region by January 2025, alongside Bee Network cycle hire bikes and, ultimately, the Metrolink network.

The buses will be powered by electric batteries to ensure they produce zero local emissions, supporting Greater Manchester in building a sustainable future for public transport.

This comes as Transport for Greater Manchester confirmed a receipt of thirty-three bids from nine different operators vying to run the locally controlled bus services – the first in thirty-six years.

Andy Burnham said of the new network: “The countdown to bringing buses back under local control for the first time in thirty-six years is well and truly on.

“With the order placed for our first fifty new electric buses and strong interest from operators who want to run the first franchised services a year from now, the Bee Network is gathering real momentum.

“We’ve already seen a positive response to our call for people to get back on board, helped by the successful introduction of cheaper bus fares across Greater Manchester to help residents cope with the cost-of-living crisis and I’m pleased to announce that we have commenced engagement with operators about the potential to cap weekly bus tickets from early next year.”

“The previous government bought into what we are trying to do, and I underlined the importance of this partnership approach continuing during my meeting with the new Transport Secretary yesterday.

“By working together, we will realise our ambitions and deliver a network that will transform how people get around our city region – not just in the years ahead but for future generations.”

Bus franchising will be rolled out in phases, starting in Bolton and Wigan as well as parts of Salford and West Manchester on September 17th 2023, followed by Bury, Rochdale, Oldham and parts of North Manchester from the end of March 2024.

Stockport, Trafford, Tameside and South Manchester, as well as the remaining parts of Salford, will be rolled out from January 5th, 2025.

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