The World Health Organization (WHO) will see within two weeks the first's results of a clinical trial of candidate drugs to treat the COVID-19 pandemic, its Director-General Tedros Adhano announced Friday.
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“Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial,” said Adhanom during a press briefing at the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU).
"Solidarity" is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19, launched by the World Health Organization and partners.
"The Solidarity Trial" will compare four treatment options against the standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19, by enrolling patients in multiple countries. It aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival, the WHO explains.
The candidate treatments are standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
According to the organization, there are 18 potential candidates been testing in humans at the moment although some approaches already have proven highly effective.
On June 16 the United Nations agency recognized the initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) that show dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, can be lifesaving for patients who are critically ill with COVID-19.
“This is the first treatment to be shown to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 requiring oxygen or ventilator support,” said Adhanom on the occasion.
The WHO explains that dexamethasone is a steroid that has been used since the 1960s to reduce inflammation in a range of conditions, including inflammatory disorders and certain cancers. It has been listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines since 1977 in multiple formulations and is currently off-patent and affordably available in most countries.