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COVID: WHO approves three new drugs for clinical trials

COVID: WHO approves three new drugs for clinical trials
August 11
20:28 2021

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Wednesday that three new candidate drugs are being tested in the new phase of its global solidarity clinical trials, to find effective treatments against COVID-19.

The drugs — artesunate, imatinib and infliximab — will be tested on hospitalised COVID-19 patients in 52 countries under the Solidarity PLUS programme.

Solidarity PLUS is the largest global collaboration among WHO’s 194 member states, with thousands of researchers in over 600 hospitals as participants.

Over 203 million cases of the disease have been recorded globally since late 2019 when it was first reported in China.


Speaking at a media briefing in Geneva on Wednesday, Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said there is a critical need to find more effective and accessible COVID-19 therapeutics.

Four drugs were evaluated under the initial solidarity trial in 2020, which showed that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon had little or no effect on hospitalised patients with COVID-19.

“We already have many tools to prevent, test for and treat COVID-19, including oxygen, dexamethasone and IL-6 blockers,” Ghebreyesus said.


“But we need more for patients at all ends of the clinical spectrum, from mild to severe disease. And we need health workers that are trained to use them in a safe environment.

“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need.”

The three drugs were selected by an independent panel for their potential in reducing the risk of death in people hospitalised for COVID-19.

They are already being used to treat other conditions — artesunate for malaria, imatinib is used for certain cancers, including leukemia, while infliximab is used to treat Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases of the immune system.



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