June 27, 2020

Health ministry approves use of low-cost steroid Dexamethasone for COVID-19 treatment

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The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare today released a revised clinical management protocol for treating COVID-19 patients and allowed Dexamethasone steroid to be used as an alternative to Methylprednisolone.

Use of Dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available anti-inflammatory steroid has been cleared for patients in need of oxygen support and those who have an excessive inflammatory response. The drug, that has been in the market for over 60 years is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis.

Earlier on June 18, the UK government also authorised the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) to use steroid after the British clinical trials proved the drug reduced the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients, including those on ventilators.

As per researchers led by a team from the University of Oxford, Dexamethasone has proven to reduced chances of dying from COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35% and patients on oxygen by 20%.

Following this development in the UK, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had called for a rapid increase in the production of the steroid.

Notably, no full-proof approved treatments or vaccines have been established for COVID-19 so far.

Worldwide, the COVID-19 outbreak has killed 4,97,000 patients and infected 9,925,777 people. In India, coronavirus infection has increased by more than 15,000 for the fourth straight day, taking the number of active cases to 1,97,387. Of this, as many as 2,95,880 people recovered.

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