India allows Dexamethasone to treat Coronavirus patients

The government has allowed the use of low-cost steroid drug Dexamethasone to treat Coronavirus patients. 

Dexamethasone is a low-dose steroid that has been in use since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers.

Dexamethasone has shown tremendous potential against COVID19 in recovery trials. Trials have shown that the mortality rate was reduced by one third for patients on ventilators, and by about one fifth for patients on oxygen therapy.

The Union Health Ministry has published a revised version of the “Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19” on its website. The protocol is published for use by health professionals as a reference. Earlier this month, the ministry had added the loss of smell and taste as new symptoms of COVID-19 in the manual.

In a statement issued Saturday, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that the drug could be used for a “wide range of conditions” given its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects.

“The drug has been tested in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the RECOVERY clinical trial and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients and has been shown to reduce mortality by about one-third for patients on ventilators, and by about one-fifth for patients being maintained on oxygen therapy. The drug is also a part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and is widely available,” the statement read.

India has recorded the highest single-day spike of COVID19 cases with 18,552 fresh cases, pushing the total number of cases to 5,08,953. It is now the fourth worst COVID19 hit country globally.

On Thursday, Hyderabad-based drugmaker Hetero, which has the approval to manufacture and market the generic version of the experimental COVID-19 drug Remdesivir, sent 20,000 vials to five states including Maharashtra and Delhi – the two worst-affected states in the country.

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