The European health regulator has on Friday endorsed using dexamethasone to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients with breathing difficulty, paving way for the steroidal medication to possibly become the region’s second approved medication for the illness.
Back in July, Gilead’s antiviral drug, remdesivir, was the first to be approved for COVID-19 by Europe a month after the EMA endorsed the drug.
And now, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said based on its review of results of a study by UK researchers, it concluded that dexamethasone – a commonly used drug against a range of inflammatory conditions – can be considered a treatment option in adults and adolescents needing oxygen therapy or mechanical ventilation.
While approvals are up to the European commission, it typically follows the EMA’s recommendation for its decision.
The EMA said the recommended dose in adults and adolescents, from 12 years of age and weighing at least 40 kgs, is 6 milligrams once a day for up to 10 days.
On Friday, the global confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 30 million as the number of deaths from virus neared one million.
According to data by the Johns Hopkins University, some 20.4 million persons have recovered from the disease worldwide.
The United States remains the worst-hit country in the world, logging more than 6.7 million cases. India and Brazil had 5.1 million and 4.4 million cases, respectively.
General: COVID-19 Vaccines Will Be Ready For Delivery 24 Hours After FDA Authorization
Four-Star general Gustave Perna who is leading the U.S. government’s operation warp speed, the crash program to develop, produce, and distribute enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to inoculate 300 million Americans, says he is confident vaccines will be “on the streets 24 hours after being authorized by the food and drug administration.
The operation is stockpiling anticipated vaccines made by six different drug makers.
While the first two vaccines to be distributed will likely be from Pfizer and Moderna, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Affairs, Alex Azar, described the news from Astra zeneca’s clinical trials as “very promising” and noted that the company’s vaccine is already being produced in the country so it too can be ready for distribution once authorized by the FDA.
Azar confirmed the drugmaker is already producing mass quantities of the vaccine in the U.S.
Last week, Pfizer applied for authorization from the FDA and a hearing date was set for mid-December.
Kenya Nurses Issue Strike Warning
Kenyan nurses have issued a 14-day strike action warning to the government. The medical workers sign the notice, citing lack of a safe working environment and protective gears- PPE`s. They are demanding that the government declare COVID-19 an occupational hazard. They are also asking to be provided with comprehensive medical cover.
The nurses’ union secretary general Seth Panyako alleged, eighteen nurses have died from COVID-19 after treating patients with the virus. He added that once the strike notice lapses, the healthcare workers will not return to work unless their issues are addressed.
The notice comes a week after doctors issued a strike notice over the same issues.
More than 78,500 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Kenya including 1,409 deaths being reported.
More than 30 healthcare workers are reported to have died after contracting the virus since the country confirmed its first case in March.
U.S. FDA Grants Emergency Authorization For COVID-19 Treatment From Regeneron
The U.S. Food and drug administration has granted emergency authorization for the Regeneron antibody treatment, the same drug that was administered to president Donald Trump after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The drug’s approval is limited in scope for people who have tested positive for the coronavirus and who are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19.
Regeneron says it will have enough of the drug for at least eighty thousand patients by the end of this month. It says, by the first week of January, it would have enough for 200,000 patients, and for 300,000 by the end of January.
The United States has surpassed the 12 million infection mark, and nearly two hundred seventy Americans have died from complications from the disease.