The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday called for an increase in production of dexamethasone.
Dexamethasone is a cheap steroid, which has been shown to reduce deaths in critically ill COVID-19 patients.
WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a virtual news conference that demand had already increased, after a British trial of the drug became public.
About 2,000 patients were administered the drug by Oxford University researchers and it reduced deaths by 35 percent among the most sickly.
“Although the data are still preliminary, the recent finding that the steroid dexamethasone has life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients gave us a much-needed reason to celebrate,” Tedros said.
“The next challenge is to increase production and rapidly and equitably distribute dexamethasone worldwide, focusing on where it is needed most,” he added.