Worldwide demand for Dexamethasone rises after coronavirus recoveries

—some discharged patients may experience persistence symptoms

DPI, Guyana, Monday, June 22, 2020

On June 15, the World Health Organisation (WHO) welcomed preliminary results of the steroid, dexamethasone, which is the first treatment shown to reduce death rates in critically ill coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Since the release of the report, there has been a surge in the demand of the drug worldwide. This was disclosed by Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a media briefing today.

Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Technical lead in COVID-19 response

The Director-General said that the challenge is to now increase production and to equitably distribute the drug worldwide, but noted that the WHO is confident in the manufacturers.

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

Given the benefits of the drug and its current demand, counterfeits on the market is another concern for the health organisation.

“It is also important to check that suppliers can guarantee the quality, as there is a high risk of substandard or falsified products entering the market,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said.

The WHO has emphasised that dexamethasone should only be used for patients with severe or critical disease who are under close clinical supervision. The drug was not found to be beneficial to persons with mild cases and is also not to be used as a preventative measure.

Meanwhile, WHO’s Technical Lead on COVID-19 response, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove said that WHO has seen positive data that shows millions of COVID-19 recoveries worldwide, and while this is good news, it was also found that some patients have persistent symptoms after recovery and/or discharge from the hospital.

“There are some people who have persistent symptoms like long term cough, a dry cough for some time, they might feel quite fatigued, for some time, [and] may feel shortness of breaths while they are climbing stairs.”

She also stated that persons with severe symptoms may also experience long-term lung damage and take longer to recover.

As some countries continue to open up their economies and lift the stay-at-home measures and curfews, the WHO is warning of a resurgence of the virus.

Yesterday, the organisation recorded a climax of 183,000 new cases in 24 four hours totalling global cases to 8,860,331.

The rise is attributed mostly to countries in the Americas such as Panama, Argentina, Costa Rica and Brazil with Brazil, equalling to more than 54,000 cases in the last twenty-four hours.

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