Dexamethasone: Breakthrough COVID-19 treatment is made in SA and cheap

Dexamethasone: Breakthrough COVID-19 treatment is made in SA and cheap

- An inexpensive steroid has been heralded as a breakthrough treatment amid the Covid-19 pandemic

- Dexamethasone is manufactured in SA by Aspen and the company is confident it can meet demand

- This means citizens will have access to the drug at a cost of only around R149 an injection

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A breakthrough treatment has been identified to reduce fatalities amongst seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

Dexamethasone has proven effective in reducing deaths by 33% when it comes to patients on ventilators, according to a study by the University of Oxford.

Patients on oxygen support were observed to have improved odds by 20% on the steroid treatment.

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The drug has emerged the victor from the world's largest trials testing existing treatments for the virus and there is good news for SA citizens.

This steroid is cheaply available from as little as R149 an injection and even produced by the company Aspen in South Africa.

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BusinessInsider spoke to CEO Stephen Saad who was confident that there is ample supply to meet local demand:

“It all depends on where and when we get the surges. We should be fine for South Africa, (as) we make this in South Africa.”

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Bhekisisa reported on a shortage of Dexamethasone in SA as recently as 2016 after Merck & Company stopped production.

However, companies like Aspen and Adcock Ingram have all registered to distribute the breakthrough medication.

Saad explained that Aspen supplies medicine to countries like the United Kingdom:

“The other registrations largely in Europe are manufactured there. We were able to largely meet the massive surges in anaesthetics in Europe and we were a major supplier of these products to our European patient base."

While the steroid provided help to patients on ventilators and oxygen, it had no notable effect on people with only mild cases of COVID-19.

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