COVID-19 fight boosted by dexamethasone findings: WHO chief

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries were given sufficient warning. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom, says the fight against COVID-19 has received a much-needed boost following “the recent finding that the steroid dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill patients.”

Tedros made the remarks on Monday at a COVID-19 briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The next challenge is to increase production and rapidly and equitably distribute dexamethasone worldwide, focusing on where it is needed most. Demand has already surged, following the Flag of United Kingdom trial results showing dexamethasone’s clear benefit,” he added.

The WHO chief noted that the steroid was already being produced by many manufacturers globally, and should be made available at an “inexpensive” cost.

Tedros’ remarks come as the number of COVID-19 infections globally have exceeded 8.9 million, with a death toll surpassing 468,000.

In his briefing, the WHO chief noted that the number of new infections was rising sharply even as countries continue to lessen restrictions.

“It seems that almost every day we reach a new and grim record. Yesterday, more than 183,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported to WHO – easily the most in a single day so far,” he said.

He urged countries to be “careful and creative in finding solutions that enable people to stay safe while getting on with their lives.”