The World Health Organization has stated that the drug, dexamethasone, is still the only therapy shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus.
Tedros Ghebreyesus Friday October 16, 2020, said this while addressing journalists at a twice-weekly webinar from Geneva on the fight against the pandemic.
He revealed interim results from the WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial and referred to influenza, which can be countered using some of the same methods as those used against COVID-19.
He also cautioned that demand for influenza vaccines might outstrip supply in some countries, particularly in the northern hemisphere, as Winter arrives.
“The Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization has therefore recommended that, among the five risk groups, health workers and older adults are the highest priority groups for influenza vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He added that “Every year, there are up to 3.5 million severe cases of seasonal influenza worldwide, and up to 650,000 respiratory-related deaths.”
During this year’s southern hemisphere winter, the number of seasonal flu cases and deaths was less than usual due to the measures taken to contain COVID-19.
“But, we cannot assume the same will be true in the northern hemisphere flu season,” said the WHO chief.
Turning to the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, Tedros said it showed that two other drugs, remdesivir and interferon, have little or no effect on preventing coronavirus-related deaths or reducing time in the hospital.
“For the moment, the corticosteroid dexamethasone is still the only therapeutic shown to be effective against COVID-19, for patients with severe disease,” said Tedros.