United Kingdom Current Affairs - 2020

Dexamethasone added in Clinical Management Protocols for COVID-19 Patients by Health Ministry

On 27th June 2020, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released an updated Clinical Management Protocol under Dexamethasone was advised as an alternative to Methylprednisolone.

Further, the Ministry has also stated that the Dexamethasone drug to be only used for COVID-19 positive patients who require oxygen support or those with an excessive inflammatory response.

Background

The United Kingdom’s University of Oxford has published its report on 16th June 2020 after conducting trials on 2104 patients with 6 mg of Dexamethasone per day for a period of 10 days.  As per which, it was found that Dexamethasone has reduced mortality in COVID-19 patients who had severe respiratory complications. The drug has reduced deaths among ventilated patients by one-third.

The report also stated that for patients who were not on respiratory support, the drug has shown no signs of benefit.

Dexamethasone

It is a type of corticosteroid medication that is being used for the treatment of a wide range of conductions such as eye pain after eye surgery, asthma, skin diseases, etc. The steroid has immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory effects.

How COVID-19 Patients were benefited from Dexamethasone?

As Dexamethasone has immunosuppressant effects, the COVID-19 patients whose immune system rapidly produces proteins called cytokines in response to the coronavirus infection, Dexamethasone serves to dampen the too aggressive response of the immune system. This overdrive reaction from the immune system is called ‘cytokine storm’. These cytokines when overproduced by the immune system damages cells and tissues in the body.

India becomes 12th Largest Holder of US Government Securities at April 2020 end

Despite low returns, the Treasury Securities (are of four types- Bills, Notes, Bonds, Inflation-Protected Securities) backed by the United States Treasury Department is one of the safest assets for any Central Bank around the world. With USD 157.4 billion at the end of April 2020, India has become the 12th largest holder of United States Government Securities.

India’s holding touched an all-time record high of USD 177.5 billion at the end of February 2020 but was reduced to USD 156.5 billion at the end of March 2020. This significant drop was due to the financial impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As economic uncertainties increased following lockdowns in most countries across the world, securities were sold by India in the month of March.

How the Indian Government invests in US Government Securities?

On behalf of the Government of India, India’s Central bank- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) invests in foreign assets. These foreign investments are part of prudential liquidity management.

Top 5 Countries as per US Government Security holdings (at the end of April 2020)

  1. Japan- USD 1.266 Trillion
  2. China- USD 1.073 Trillion
  3. United Kingdom- USD 368.5 Billion
  4. Ireland- USD 300.2 Billion
  5. Luxembourg- USD 265.5 Billion