Hunt gives OK to UK virus treatment

 

An anti-inflammation drug that has been successfully used to treat severe COVID-19 infections in the UK is likely to be used by doctors in Australia.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt was briefed on the findings by Oxford University scientists by the nation's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy on Tuesday night.

"It's not going to prevent you getting it, it's not going to cure it, but the early but high-quality evidence out of UK is that people who are very, very sick, it gives them a much better chance of survival," he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

The UK reported this week trials showed dexamethasone - a drug used to reduce inflammation in other diseases such as arthritis - reduced death rates among the most severely ill coronavirus patients by around 35 per cent.

The widely available drug, worth about $10 over the pharmacy counter in Australia, could be used to treat the three coronavirus patients in Australia in intensive care. Two are on ventilators.

"We're very concerned for them," Mr Hunt said.

"We know we now have an option for the doctors in intensive care to consider. There are no barriers to them using it."

Meanwhile, Australia's Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan has reinforced the need to contain coronavirus through social distancing and good hygiene.

"We must remember that even if a treatment has been found ... that does not in any way detract from the need for us to continue to prevent the spread across Australia," she said on Wednesday.

There were 23 new cases recorded across Australia on Wednesday, taking the national infection tally to 7370.

Almost all were in Victoria, which had its largest daily spike in a month with 21 new cases including several from community clusters.

Ms McMillan said it was to be expected there would be small outbreaks and Victoria had done well to contain them quickly.

"We need people if they've got symptoms to quickly get tested and therefore we can then get in contact ... and we can contain those outbreaks to small numbers," she said.

Originally published as Hunt gives OK to UK virus treatment



Man crashed into tree after being told to leave 18th party

Premium Content Man crashed into tree after being told to leave 18th party

The 50-year-old was advised to leave after getting into a fight and suffering a...

REVEALED: Shopping mall’s “high risk” new food plans

Premium Content REVEALED: Shopping mall’s “high risk” new food plans

Centre to create new food shops, including an experience not seen outside of Sydney...

Grafton man sentenced for power tool crime spree

Premium Content Grafton man sentenced for power tool crime spree

Court heard 45-year-old man went on month-long crime spree, stealing thousands of...