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Dexamethasone use sees 25% drop in death rate of critical COVID patients - study

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

Local doctors have been using dexamethasone to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients for almost two months now.Picture: 123rf

JOHANNESBURG –Health Minister Zweli Mkhize says a study has shown that the use of a steroid called dexamethasone on COVID-19 patients in ICU, has resulted in a decline of 25% in South Africa’s mortality rate among the critically ill.

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

South Africa is now ranked fifth on the global COVID-19 scale, with over 521,000 infections and over 8,000 deaths.

Local doctors have been using dexamethasone to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients for almost two months now.

Mkhize said the steroid has already shown remarkable results.

“Since the introduction of dexamethasone on 16 June, other studies show that there has been dramatic improvement at 30%-40%. The ICU mortality at the beginning of the pandemic was around 80%.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has agreed to send more than 40 senior experts to South Africa, half of whom are touching down on Wednesday, to give the department guidelines on the best way to respond to the virus.

The minister says although it seems the spread of the virus is slowing down in some provinces, it’s not an indication that the country is out of the dangerous coronavirus woods.

WATCH: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize gives COVID-19 update