UK-approved COVID-19 treatment drug in stock

UK-approved COVID-19 treatment drug in stock
Dr Nikkiah Forbes (FILE PHOTO)

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.

Lasting complications

The Bahamas currently has 104 cases of COVID-19 in the country, of which 82 confirmed cases on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, 13 on Bimini, and one in Cat Cay.
The number of active cases to stands at 19 and recovered cases at 74.
Only one patient remains hospitalized.
Forbes noted yesterday that those discharged from hospital and are recovered are doing reasonably well.
She indicated that following monitoring from health officials and additional testing, those patients are considered safe to go back into their community.
She warned however that global reports indicate of long term implications have been found in some COVID-19 recovered patients, including residual scarring in the lungs.
“What that means is that those patients may not have the full capacity when they are exercising or doing activities that require say running up the stairs, jogging, it may be harder for them to breathe,” Forbes explained
We do have to look out for that. There are [also] reports that there could be myocardial damage – that’s damage to the heart – and certainly, there are reports that patients with COVID-19 could get blood clots in the legs or even in the lungs. So we are certainly following that.”
She added that there was a patient who had a clot around a central line, but she was adequately treated, discharged and sent home and is doing alright.
Forbes said that COVID-19 patients can follow up with their physicians and health officials will be interested to know how they are progressing.

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