Malacañang on Thursday welcomed the result of the trial in the United Kingdom on dexamethasone, a common steroid, which showed recovery in patients severely ill with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), but clarified that it cannot be considered a “miracle pill”.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the discovery was “good news” since the steroid is a common, cheap, and commercially available drug.
He acknowledged that the steroid has been hailed as a “major breakthrough”, but also pointed out that the findings showed that it could only reduce deaths by about 30 percent in critical Covid-19 patients.
“We definitely welcome it. Although we don’t think it’s a miracle pill, kasi ang findings po (because the findings show), it can save about 30 percent of seriously ill patients. We want a cure that will save a 100 percent if not a majority of those who fall seriously ill,” he said in a virtual presser.
On Wednesday, the Department of Health (DOH) also warned the public against the unregulated use of dexamethasone.
“Mariin namin pinaaalahanan ang publiko na hindi po tayo dapat pumunta agad-agad sa mga botika para bumili nito. Mariin din po naming pinapaalala sa lahat na ang gamot na ito ay hindi tine-take without the supervision of a doctor lalo na nga po kagaya ng ibang gamot, mayroon itong side effects kapag mali ang gamit nito (We strongly urge the public not to rush to the drugstores and buy this drug. We strongly remind the public that this drug must not be taken without the supervision of a doctor as its wrong use results in side effects),” DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said.
She urged the public not to buy or hoard it “in the hope of self-medicating or taking it as prophylaxis”.
In a public address late Monday night, Duterte expressed hope that experts would soon develop a vaccine or miracle pill to cure Covid-19.
“The only way to fight Covid is vaccine or iyong maybe ‘yung miracle pill that would kill just as an antibiotic would kill a bacteria. But itong virus cannot be killed by antibiotic. Katawan mo talaga ang mag-produce ng antibodies. Now there is a pill, I hope it’s true na parang lalaban and it can maybe sabi kill,” he said.
Duterte, in previous speeches, said he was looking for funds for the immediate purchase of an effective vaccine once it is available.
Malacañang assured that the national government is ready to implement an immunization plan should a vaccine roll out in the future.
Earlier, researchers in the UK said that dexamethasone cuts the risk of death in severely ill Covid-19 patients.
Trial results showed that dexamethasone, which is used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis, reduced death rates by around a third among the most severely ill Covid-19 patients.
However, the trial results have not yet been peer-reviewed. (PNA)