Mbabane: Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi said Eswatini will welcome the Dexamethasone drug once it is available and all details about it being given.
Nkosi said the whole world, including Eswatini is hungry for such news and looking forward to it being fully approved to be dispatched to patients. Nkosi said as Eswatini is seeing a surge in the number of infections, it will be grateful for any drug that will be provided and proven to work in curing COVID-19.
Nkosi said they are now waiting for the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) to provide more details about the newly discovered drug; dosage details, how to administer it to patients, side effects and many more necessary details.
On another World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday called the initial clinical trial results of a steroid shown to reduce deaths in critically ill coronavirus patients “great news.”
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” he said of dexamethasone, which reduced the mortality of those on ventilators in the trial by one-third.
“This is great news and I congratulate the Government of the U.K., the University of Oxford, and the many hospitals and patients in the U.K. who have contributed to this lifesaving scientific breakthrough,” he said in a statement.
Currently, 50 percent of COVID-19 patients who need a ventilator don’t survive, according to BBC News.
Dexamethasone, has been used since the 1960s as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis and asthma patients, is inexpensive and widely available.
Professor Duncan who is a Professor of Intensive Care Medicine in the Oxford University said the results of the RECOVERY trial dexamethasone arm show an improved 28-day survival after randomization in the sub-groups of patients with COVID-19 disease severe enough to require artificial ventilation or supplemental oxygen. The results are very robust due to the large number of patients recruited to the trial. The drug prevented one death in 8 in ventilated patients, and one death in 25 in patients on oxygen. Although this appears a relatively modest effect on outcome, for ventilated patients the NNT (number needed to treat) of 8 is better than almost any other intervention studied in patients on ventilators for any disease.
In neighbouring South Africa, Premier of the Western Cape has announced that the Department of Health has received the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee and are finalising the clinical protocols for the use Dexamethasone.
“These preliminary findings have shown a reduction in mortality in patients who are being ventilated and to a lesser degree, in those who require oxygen support. The drug has been in use since the 1960s, and is widely available with several generic versions in production, making it affordable too.
“Yesterday (Tuesday), Minister Zweli Mkhize indicated that while we wait for the results of the full study to be made available, the use of the drug could be considered for COVID-19 positive patients who are being mechanically ventilated, and patients who require oxygen support,” he said.
The premier did however stress that this drug is not a cure and it is not for use in patients with milder symptoms.
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