Dexamethasone: How ‘life-saving’ COVID-19 treatment will be used in SA

Scientists have announced with confidence that dexamethasone, a relatively inexpensive steroid, is the first COVID-19 treatment proven to prevent death. The study by Oxford University showed that a course of this medication saved the lives of one in three patients needing ventilator treatment – and the drug is coming to SA.

How Dexamethasone will be used in South Africa

Dexamethasone has been trialed across the world, but it was in the UK where the breakthrough was formally discovered. South Africa has been using this treatment – as well as other corticosteroids – in their own research.

Late on Tuesday evening, the Ministerial Advisory Council threw their support behind the findings. The top team of medical professionals suggests that an IV administration of dexamethasone should be considered for patients needing the assistance of a mechanical ventilator.

COVID-19 treatment set for consideration

They also say the passengers needed oxygen should be treated with the steroid, but warn that the success rate is lower in this scenario. Here’s how it will be rolled out in Mzansi:

“We believe that intravenous dexamethasone 6mg daily for 10 days may be considered in patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 who are being ventilated. Although there’s a lesser effect on mortality in patients requiring oxygen without a ventilator, we advise patients needing this treatment also receive dexamethasone.”

“However, those who come to hospital with a COVID-19 diagnosis and do not require oxygen or a ventilator should not receive dexamethasone. This advisory is based on a preliminary statement by the Chief Investigators of the RECOVERY trial. It may be subject to change when the publication is reviewed.”

Ministerial Advisory Committee on dexamethasone usage in South Africa

  • You can read the full statement shared by the Ministerial Advisory Committee here:

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