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Coronavirus: WHO Guidance on the use of corticosteroids in patients with COVID-19


WHO has published guidance for clinicians and health care decision-makers on the use of corticosteroids in patients with COVID-19.

We recommend systemic corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe and critical COVID-19. We suggest not to use corticosteroids in the treatment of patients with non-severe COVID-19 as the treatment.

Corticosteroids are listed in the WHO model list of essential medicines, readily available globally at a low cost.  

This guidance was developed in collaboration with the non-profit Magic Evidence Ecosystem Foundation (MAGIC), which provided methodologic support to develop and disseminate living guidance for COVID-19 drug treatments.

Work on this guidance began on 22 June when the RECOVERY trial published a preliminary report on the impact of corticosteroids. To supplement the results, WHO partnered with investigators of seven trials on corticosteroids to conduct a meta-analysis of these trials, in order to rapidly provide additional evidence to build on RECOVERY data and inform guidance development.

The guidance was thus informed by combining data from all these randomized trials of systemic corticosteroids for COVID-19.

WHO provides guidance that works across all contexts for all countries and health care systems.

The Guidance can be found here:

Trials published in JAMA.

  1. Association Between Administration of Systemic Corticosteroids and Mortality Among Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 –
  1. Effect of Hydrocortisone on Mortality and Organ Support in Patients With Severe COVID-19 – 
  2. Effect of Hydrocortisone on 21-Day Mortality or Respiratory Support Among Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 – 
  3. Effect of Dexamethasone on Days Alive and Ventilator-Free in Patients With Moderate or Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and COVID-19 –

All technical guidance on COVID-19 can be found here:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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