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Mkhize: SA working to boost dexamethasone supply to treat COVID-19 patients

A clinical trial led by researchers at oxford university, has was found that when administered intravenously in small doses, dexamethasone reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill coronavirus patients.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that South Africa was already making arrangements to boost its supply of a steroid called dexamethasone which could be used in the treatment of critically COVID-19 patients.

A clinical trial led by researchers at Oxford University has was found that when administered intravenously in small doses, dexamethasone reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill coronavirus patients.

The corticosteroid medication is manufactured here in South Africa and is widely used to relieve inflammation.

There seems to be a shortage at the moment.

Mkhize said South Africa was now in a process of finding more of this drug.

“It’s going to take us a while to be able to build our own capacity where we can do our own manufacturing. However, that does not derail us because we will still be accessing additional stocks that will be available.”

Mkhize said that South Africans need to be more careful now as the country headed into the COVID-19 storm.

More than 4,00 new coronavirus cases were recorded over the past 24-hour cycle and the death toll has risen to 1,674.

Mkhize said despite the spike in the infection rate, government was pleased with the manner in which it handled the lockdown regulations.

“But that we benefited from the lockdown is without a doubt. At that time, we would have probably have passed the numbers that we have today many weeks ago if we allowed that rate of spread to continue without any interruption.”

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