Great Britain makes scientific breakthrough in treating COVID-19, WHO changes its mask policy
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed as a “lifesaving scientific breakthrough” the British use of steroid dexamethasone to treat COVID-19 patients.
According to the research conducted at the University of Oxford, the anti-inflammatory drug reduced deaths by 35 percent among those who could only breathe with the help of a ventilator and by 20 percent among patients on oxygen. The drug in the United Kingdom costs only about five pounds. The British government on Tuesday approved the use of dexamethasone in treating COVID-19.
“This is the first treatment that showed the reduction of mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO reported that the UK shared preliminary results of the clinical trial.
“We are looking forward to the full data analysis in the coming days,” said the organization.
The WHO has changed the recommendations for wearing masks. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged to wear them, especially in public transport and shops.
Earlier, the WHO believed that wearing masks is recommended only for patients with COVID-19. This was stated in the interim guidance of the organization on April 6. People without respiratory symptoms were advised to avoid the crowds, maintain distance, wash their hands, not touch their faces and cover their mouth with a hand bent at the elbow when sneezing and coughing.
Such recommendations were made at the beginning of the pandemic due to very little information about the new infection.
The reason for changing the recommendations was new scientific data. On June 1, the Lancet medical journal published a review of studies on the use of masks. Its authors found out that people with coronavirus but without symptoms can infect others through drops that spread during a conversation.
The new recommendations emphasize that the mask should contain at least three layers of tissue for effective protection against the virus.
“In the light of evolving evidence, the WHO advises governments to encourage the general public to wear masks where there is widespread transmission and physical distancing is difficult, such as public transport, shops, confined or crowded environments,” said the WHO Director-General.