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African countries encouraged to produce dexamethasone

Published Jun 18, 2020


CAPE TOWN- Many African countries have excellent facilities to manufacture vaccines and drugs to combat the Covid-19 outbreak on the continent, and these should be utilised.

These were the sentiments of the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Dr John Nkengasong, where he was discussing the use of the dexamethasone.

Nkengasong was speaking at a media briefing where he provided an update about the Covid-19 pandemic in Africa and what Africa CDC and member states are doing to contain it.

Earlier this week the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the clinical trial results from the United Kingdom showing that dexamethasone, which is a steroid used for inflammatory disorders and certain cancers, was shown to reduce mortality by about one third for patients on ventilators.


“We should not only be discussing how we can get the drugs from the UK, we should position ourselves to develop the drugs or vaccines ourselves,” he said.

The Covid-19 breakthrough drug is produced and readily available in South Africa.

“The basic principle of our continental strategy is that we should enhance cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication,” he continued.

Dr Nkengasong provided an update on the latest statistic for Africa. The total number of Covid-19 cases on the African continent are 267 519, while deaths are 7 197, and there are 122 661 recoveries.

The continent has conducted 3.7 million Covid-19 tests with a positivity rate of 7.1 percent.

Ten countries account for 80 percent of all tests conducted. To date, South Africa has conducted over 1.2 million tests.

South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria have the highest number of Covid-19 cases, and cumulatively account for 64 percent of all cases reported on the continent.

Globally Covid-19 cases have reached 8.4 million, while deaths are 451 672 and recoveries 4.4 million.

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