Picture: Yves Herman/Reuters
Picture: Yves Herman/Reuters

'Stockpile of dexamethasone to be increased to help treat symptoms of Covid-19'

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jun 18, 2020

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Johannesburg - Dr Zweli Mkhize says more stock of the drug dexamethasone will be procured to help treat Covid-19 patients who can benefit from the drug’s use under clinician’s supervision.

Dexamethasone has been spoken widely about following an Oxford University study which found that the drug can help assist Covid-19 patients when administered in small doses. It could help reduce deaths caused by the virus, the study said. The drug is a type of corticosteroid medication and is widely used for treating various illnesses.

Mkhize said although the drug was not a cure for Covid-19 it would help in treating patients that were very sick and as such is a huge boost for the fight against the virus. The drug has been in use for years and in this case, it can help patients, like those on ventilators, fight the effects of the virus. 

Mkhize said the drug is used and monitored by doctors for use in patients and has very little to no benefit for people with mild symptoms.
The minister said procedures were under way for the drug to be used as a standard treatment for Covid-19. He said there was stock of the drug in the country but it will now have to be increased. 

The country currently has 80 412 confirmed cases with1 674 deaths. There are 44 331 recoveries. 

On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that more industries would be allowed to operate under level 3 of the lockdown. 

Mkhize warned that now was the time for behavioural change to be entrenched to help curb the spread of the virus. 

"Several weeks ago, we warned of a heavy storm. We are driving right into the storm. The impact of the pandemic is going to be a challenge. It will be important that we deal with the changes that have to be done in our lives. We cannot have the whole country go on a restriction while people go hungry.
 
 "We have to balance the livelihoods and saving lives. So, we are now saying there is a new way of behaviour that needs to co-exist with the virus. Reduce the spread of infections while saving the economy. It also means we have to balance the behavioural change. Now people need to understand that our lives depend on it," Mkhize said.

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** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za 

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