WHO advocates enhanced production of Dexamethasone for COVID-19

* Steroid dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients ─Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As scientists intensify efforts at getting an effective and durable vaccine to combat the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic fast ravaging several economies across the world, the World Health Organisation, a United Nations (UN) agency, has advocated an extensive boost in the production of Dexamethasone.

Dexamethasone is a cheap steroid which has been shown to reduce deaths in critically ill coronavirus patients, says agency report.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, Monday, June 22, said demand had already surged after a trial of the drug was publicised in Britain, but he was confident production could be ramped up.

Some 2,000 patients were given the drug by researchers led by a team from Oxford Unversity, and it reduced deaths by 35 percent among the most sickly, recent findings published have revealed.

Dr. Ghebreyesus said: “Although the data are still preliminary, the recent finding that the steroid dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients gave us a much-needed reason to celebrate.”

“The next challenge is to increase production and rapidly and equitably distribute Dexamethasone worldwide, focusing on where it is needed most.”

The WHO Chief disclosed that Dexamethasone has been on the market for over 60 years and usually serves to reduce inflammation.

Dexamethasone should only be used for patients with severe or critical disease under close clinical supervision.

Ghebreyesus, however, warned that “there is no evidence that the drug works for patients with mild disease or as a preventative measure, and it could cause harm.”

Referring to the priority countries to focus on in the application of the drug thus far, the UN health agency stressed that countries with large numbers of critically ill Coronavirus patients should be prioritised, stated the report.

Suppliers had to guarantee quality “as there is a high risk of substandard or falsified products entering the market,” he noted.

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases worldwide has topped nine million and killed more than 468,500 people since the outbreak began in China December 2019, according to an AFP tally using official sources.

The WHO Chief said: “Almost every day we reach a new and grim record,” adding that more than 183,000 new cases were reported to the WHO Sunday, June 21, which was described as the most in a single day thus far.

However, he stated that some countries are witnessing a rapid increase in cases and deaths, whereas others that had successfully suppressed transmission are now witnessing an upswing in cases as they reopened their societies and economies.

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