COVID-19: WHO says more understanding needed on steroid


PTI, Jun 18, 2020, 7:58 AM IST

London: The emergencies chief of the World Health Organization welcomed the news this week that dexamethasone, a cheap steroid, was shown in a British trial to reduce deaths among patients critically ill with the coronavirus, but said it was too soon to change how patients are treated.

“It’s one of the breakthroughs we’re going to need to effectively deal with COVID-19, but it’s still preliminary data,” said Dr. Michael Ryan at a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We will pull together the necessary expert group… and come to a decision around our clinical advice to countries.”

Ryan said that “this is not the time to rush to change clinical practice” and that it was crucial to understand issues like what dose should be used on patients, how patients would be assessed and if there were adequate supplies of the drug.

On Tuesday, when the British researchers announced their findings, the department of health said the dexamethasone had been approved to treat all hospitalized COVID-19 patients, effectively immediately.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that in the last two months, more than 6 million coronavirus cases have been logged and said cases were still accelerating globally. In the first two months, only 85,000 cases were reported, mostly from China.

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