The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Wednesday approved dexamethasone as ‘cure’ drug for saving lives of critically ill coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients. Dexamethasone is a breakthrough in the global race to discover a safe and effective drug for treatment and prevention of the disease.
The WHO welcomed the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that showed dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be life-saving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.
Dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations, and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support.
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“This is great news and I congratulate the government of the UK, the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the UK who have contributed to this life-saving scientific breakthrough.”
The UN health agency, in a statement, said: “The researchers shared initial insights about the results of the trial with WHO, and we are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days. WHO will coordinate a meta-analysis to increase our overall understanding of this intervention. WHO clinical guidance will be updated to reflect how and when the drug should be used in COVID-19.”