In this month’s review of published papers and pre-prints, the Early Career Committee reviewed 22 publications and evaluated them on six key principles: research quality, team science, scale, open science, patient and public involvement, and equality, diversity and inclusion. The publication of the month for August 2020 was “The potential health and economic impact of dexamethasone treatment for patients with COVID-19”, by Aguas et. al.

Dexamethasone is a low-cost steroid which is widely available globally. The results of the RECOVERY clinical trial established that Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third for patients on ventilators and by one-fifth for patients needing only oxygen. Authors from the same team research team estimated the potential impact this could have on the number of lives saved and on implementing this intervention due to its low cost. They estimate that by January 2021, approximately 12,000 and 650,000 lives could be saved in the UK and globally respectively. They also estimate that in UK alone this could save £85mil over the next six months, making it a cost-effective treatement, useful specially for low and middle income countries.

The committee scored this work high on team science and scale as it brings together several researchers from across the globe analysing thousands of patients from over 175 NHS hospitals enrolled in this study. The committee also highlights the high impact this treatment could have on mitigating COVID-19 related mortalities not only in the U.K. but also across the globe.

HDR UK’s Early Career Committee would like to congratulate and commend Aguas et. al. for their contribution to enable discoveries that can help save people’s lives.