NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The anti-inflammatory drug approved by the United Kingdom as a treatment for severely ill COVID-19 patients is in stock, according to National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme Director Dr Nikkiah Forbes.
The British High Commission advised on Wednesday that the use of Dexamethasone for coronavirus treatment across the country had been approved effectively immediately, following conclusive government-funded clinical trials.
The Oxford University RECOVERY trial showed the drug saved lives by significantly reducing the risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients who require oxygen.
But Forbes noted that the drug has been around since the early 1960s and is a steroid which has been used for asthma, allergy and joint conditions.
“We do have that drug in the country,” she told Eyewitness News.
Forbes, however, noted that the drug has not been tested in-country to date, given that the study was recently released – and has not yet been published.
“Certainly in The Bahamas, we are fortunate that we haven’t had severely ill patients for quite some time,” she continued.
“And certainly this is very promising and we are very happy and optimistic that there are drugs that are proving to improve outcome and shorten the duration of illness..and so certainly if there are proven effective treatment then clinicians will be using them surely for patients who need the treatment.”
The trial is reportedly the first clinical trial anywhere in the world to show a treatment provides significant impact in reducing patient mortality.
The High Commission said the British government has taken action to secure supplies of dexamethasone in the UK, buying additional stocks ahead of time in the event of a positive trial outcome.
The country has stockpiled enough of the drug to treat some 200,000 people, according to the commission.