June 17, 2020 / 4:46 PM / 23 days ago

UK now has 240,000 doses of dexamethasone in stock or on order - health minister

An ampoule of Dexamethasone is seen during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in this picture illustration taken June 17, 2020. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Illustration

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has increased the amount of dexamethasone it has in stock and on order to 240,000 doses, health minister Matt Hancock said on Wednesday, after a preliminary trial result showed it reduced mortality in the most severe COVID-19 cases.

Britain swiftly backed the steroid drug after University of Oxford researchers announced preliminary results of their trial on Tuesday, saying it had amassed a stockpile of 200,000 courses of the drug.

“It’s the first time that anyone in the world has clinically proven that a drug can improve the survival chances of the most seriously ill coronavirus patients,” Hancock told parliament.

“As of today, we have 240,000 doses now in stock and on order. And this means that the treatment is immediately available and already in use on the NHS (National Health Service).”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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