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Covid-19 Drug Available in SA for R150 by ASPEN

Article by Natalie Müller

Breaking: A long anticipated Covid-19 treatment drug, has been confirmed to be available in South Africa.

During the past few weeks, we reported that a breakthrough had been made in the UK which revealed that the Dexamethasone drug, has been proven to reduce deaths by one-third in patients on ventilators, the University of Oxford said in a statement on Tuesday. It reduced fatalities by a fifth among those who received oxygen support.

Pharmaceutical company ASPEN has come out on a statement revealing, that they already mass produce the drug and it is largely available for distribution across South Africa.

The reasonably priced steroid, is available from R149 through the form of an injection in South Africa, has been hailed as a breakthrough treatment to reduce fatalities among severely ill Covid-19 patients.

The finding came from the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments on Covid-19 patients.

More than 11,500 patients in 175 UK hospitals are part of the trial, and more than 2,100 of them received 6mg of dexamethasone once per day.

The regulated price per dexamethasone injection is between R149 and R176 in South Africa. It is typically used to treat arthritis and breathing disorders.

South Africa’s pharmaceutical giant Aspen produces dexamethasone injections in South Africa.

Aspen CEO Stephen Saad confirmed to Business Insider SA that there should be sufficient supplies 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.”

While daily doses of dexamethasone could prevent one in eight ventilated patient deaths and save one out of every 25 patients requiring oxygen, the steroid had no effect on outcomes among those with mild cases of Covid-19 (people not receiving oxygen or ventilation), the study found.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has come out in a statement, in support of the dexamethasone drug trial.

The World Health Organization (WHO) welcomes the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19. For patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth, according to preliminary findings shared with WHO.

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