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The Long And Bizarre History Of Dexamethasone, The Steroid President Trump Has Received As Part Of His Coronavirus Treatment

UPDATE (Oct. 4, 2020, 5:30 p.m.): President Trump’s medical team disclosed that the president had been given dexamethasone on Saturday as part of his coronavirus treatment. The steroid reportedly lowers the death rate in severely ill COVID-19 patients, but the drug could also be harmful in patients with mild cases and weaken their immune response. At this time, Trump’s doctors have not indicated that he is experiencing severe symptoms.


Dexamethasone, a steroid that appears promising for COVID-19 patients, has a long and storied history in medicine. We talk with experts about its many uses, and explore how it might save lives in this pandemic.

Sara Reardon is a science journalist and contributor to FiveThirtyEight.

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