Thursday, 07 January 2021 00:19

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said in a statement South Africa have reached a grim milestone of 20 000 mark for new cases identified in 24 hours. 21 832 cases have been identified since the last report, bringing the total cumulative COVID-19 cases in South Africa to 1 149 591.

A further 844 deaths have been reported: Eastern Cape 452, Free State 12, Gauteng 96, Kwa-Zulu Natal 65, Limpopo 11, Mpumalanga 8, North West 46, Northern Cape 5 and Western Cape 149. This brings the total to 31 368 deaths, said Mkhize.

The minister added that the recoveries now stand at 929 239 at a recovery rate of 80,8%.

Mkhize explained that the 452 deaths reported from the Eastern Cape were as a result of data reconciliation dating between May and November 2020.

"This includes analysis of community cases where post-mortem swabs were taken for Covid testing and analysis of clinical records where the the diagnosis was unconfirmed at the time of demise. The National Department of Health is engaging the province to investigate the details of the reporting backlog," he said.

Meanwhile, the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority has denounced the use of ivermectin in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

In a statement, the regulatory authority said they did not approve the use of the medication, which is used in the treatment of scabies and headlice.

"Ivermectin is not indicated nor approved by SAHPRA for use in humans. There is no confirmatory data on ivermectin available as yet for its use in the management of Covid-19 infections. In terms of safety and efficacy there is no evidence to support the use of ivermectin and we do not have any clinical trial evidence to justify its use," SAHPRA said.

It said in some countries where ivermectin is registered for human use, the human use formulation is being used off-label in the management of Covid-19 infections where the clinical responsibility for monitoring of safety and efficacy lies solely with the prescriber.

It said there are currently no applications either for clinical trials or for the registration of ivermectin for the treatment or as prophylaxis for Covie-19.

"However, SAHPRA encourages and supports all well-designed, ethically approved, scientific studies designed to identify new or existing medicines that are used for the treatment or prophylaxis of Covid-19. SAHPRA reiterates its commitment to expedite the review of such studies. Furthermore, as the South African regulatory authority, SAHPRA will continue to evaluate any emerging peer reviewed publications or data on the use of ivermectin for the treatment of Covid-19, and notes that according to the global clinical trials register, additional data should become available in the course of the next few months."

"SAHPRA will also consider enabling access to approved formulations of ivermectin intended for human use, including through Section 21 authorisation, provided such a request is supported by evidence for the indication requested and is justified based on a risk benefit assessment that includes safety and clinical efficacy data, "the authority said.

Compiled by Lehlohonolo Lehana.