United Kingdom OKs dexamethasone use to treat COVID

Updated: Jun 18, 2020, 08:03 IST | Agencies | London

According to scientists, the drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35 per cent and patients on oxygen by 20 per cent

A woman receives food rations from volunteers in Mexico City. Pic/AFP
A woman receives food rations from volunteers in Mexico City. Pic/AFP

The UK government on Wednesday authorised the state-funded National Health Service (NHS) to use steroid dexamethasone, the "world's first" novel Coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death among severely ill patients. The Department of Health said the cheap and widely available anti-inflammatory steroid has been immediately approved to treat all hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen, including those on ventilators, after an Oxford University trial confirmed positive results on Tuesday.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the government-funded trial as the "biggest breakthrough", which has "greatly reduced" patients' chances of dying from COVID-19. "I am proud of these British scientists, backed by UK government funding, who have led the first, robust clinical trial anywhere in the world to find a coronavirus treatment proven to reduce the risk of death."

A box of dexamethasone injection ampoules is photographed at a chemists shop in London. Pic/AFP
A box of dexamethasone injection ampoules is photographed at a chemists shop in London. Pic/AFP

According to scientists, the drug has been proven to reduce the risk of death significantly in COVID-19 patients on ventilation by as much as 35 per cent and patients on oxygen by 20 per cent. "The standard treatment for COVID-19 will include dexamethasone, helping save thousands of lives while we deal with this terrible virus," said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

Meanwhile, a team of Singapore scientists has discovered five antibodies that can block COVID-19 infection and protect against the key mutations, said Defence Science Organisation National Laboratories said on Wednesday. Human trials for the lead antibody, AOD01, will commence in the coming months.

COVID-19 spreads in toilets?
Researchers from Yangzhou University in China have said flushing a toilet can create a large and widespread cloud of virus-containing aerosol droplets that last long enough to be breathed in by others, raising the possibility of COVID-19 being transmitted with the use of toilets.

Mexico records 3rd highest daily deaths

Even as Mexico announced plans for reopening churches and religious events, the country posted near-record numbers of newly confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday. The Health Department reported that confirmed cases rose by 4,599, the second-highest daily increase to date, to reach an accumulated total of 1,54,863. Deaths rose by 730, the third-highest daily confirmation number, after one-day increases of 1,092 and 816 earlier this month. Those death tolls rivalled that of the US. Both case and death total — which now stands at 18,310 — are clearly undercounts, because Mexico does very little testing. Health care professionals now account for about 24 per cent of Mexico's cases and 463 have died.

Despite rising cases, Trump is going ahead with rallies

President Donald Trump is continuing with his rallies even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the US. Trump is defying Tulsa's top public health official by going forward with a huge indoor rally. As Trump is resuming his campaign, his administration is asking attendees to assume all virus-related risks and agree not to sue the campaign and the venue.

Beijing cancels flights, trains as cases spike

Beijing moved on a war footing on Wednesday, cancelling hundreds of domestic flights and trains while ramping up the mass testing of 90,000 people to stem the spread of COVID-19, as the city reported 31 new cases, pushing the tally to 137. Starting Wednesday, Beijing halts return to campus, and resumes online courses for school students.

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