WHO calls for ramped-up production of ‘life-saving drug’
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WHO calls for ramped-up production of ‘life-saving drug’

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On Monday, the World Health Organisation called for a rapid increase in production of the steroid dexamethasone, after British clinical trials found it significantly reduced mortality in severely affected coronavirus patients.

“The next challenge is to increase production and rapidly and equitably distribute dexamethasone worldwide, focusing on where it is needed most,” said WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during a press conference.

“Fortunately, this is an inexpensive medicine and there are many dexamethasone manufacturers worldwide, who we are confident can accelerate production,” he added.

According to the first results of the UK Recovery clinical trial published last week, dexamethasone reduces mortality by a third in the most severely affected coronavirus patients.

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The drug is the first to show an improvement in survival in Covid-19 patients where no vaccine exists. The steroid usually serves to reduce inflammation.

The British study also showed that mortality was reduced by a fifth in less severely affected patients who were given oxygen through a mask without intubation.

On the other hand, the treatment showed no benefit for patients who did not require respiratory assistance.

The Director-General of WHO has stressed that “dexamethasone should only be used for severe or critical Covid-19 patients under close clinical supervision.”

“There is no evidence that this drug works for patients with benign conditions or as a preventive measure, and it could cause harm,” he stressed.

The Brussels Times