The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is currently negotiating the advance purchase of the steroid dexamethasone – for 4.5 million coronavirus infected patients in low and middle-income countries.
The steroid dexamethasone has been shown to be effective in treating severe or critical COVID-19 patients.
According to a report from Reuters, the advance purchase will be made under a deal negotiation led by UNITAID and Wellcome.
According to a joint statement from both agencies, the deal is part of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s plan to accelerate access to therapeutics in the battle against the global pandemic.
“With this advanced purchase we aim to ensure equitable access for low- and middle-income countries for treatment of COVID-19 with the life-saving drug dexamethasone, and avoid shortages resulting from high-levels of demand from other parts of the world,” said Philippe Duneton, acting executive director of UNITAID.
The initial purchase will be made for up to 4.5 million people in low and middle-income countries, the agencies said on Friday.
The steroid dexamethasone, originally a corticosteroid medication used in the treatment of conditions such as asthma, inflammatory disorders and certain cancers, was discovered to be effective in treating severe or critical COVID-19 patients on ventilators, following clinical trials in the United Kingdom.
Earlier in June, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire had called on frontline clinicians to consider the use of dexamethasone in the treatment of COVID-19 across the country.
The World Health Organisation also welcomed the results of the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom showing that dexamethasone could be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19 and for patients on ventilators.