Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov says President Volodymyr Zelensky has ordered to urgently start talks to preorder the COVID-19 vaccine, which was successfully tested by Oxford scientists.

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"This process is under way. This is important to us that Ukraine be one of the first countries where the respective vaccine, which has passed all clinical trials, will also be used," he said at a briefing on June 17, as reported by the Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda. Zhyttya ("Life").

This refers to the vaccine that has been developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca jointly with the University of Oxford.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed the results of Oxford scientists' study of dexamethasone, which can help in the treatment of patients with a complex form of the coronavirus. Scientists say the medication may be a "surprisingly cheap" means to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dexamethasone has been used since the 1950s to treat rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, eye inflammation, and cerebral edema.