New clinical trials will be launched soon to measure the effectiveness against Covid-19 of three additional treatments (artesunate, imatinib and infliximab), the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday.
“We are pleased to announce the next phase of the Solidarity Trial, called Solidarity PLUS, which will test three drugs: artesunate, a treatment for severe malaria; imatinib, a medicine for certain cancers; infliximab, a treatment for immune system disorders, ”WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference.
These drugs were chosen by a group of independent experts, according to the UN agency which indicated that the trials will be carried out in more than 600 hospitals in 52 countries.
“Last week, the 200 millionth case of Covid-19 was reported to the WHO, just six months after the world crossed the 100 million case mark. And we know that the actual number of cases is much higher, ”said Dr Tedros.
“Whether and how quickly we will reach 300 million is up to all of us. If the current trajectory continues, we could surpass the 300 million cases reported early next year, ”he said.
The WHO chief said it was possible to “change that” if the world acts in unison.
The WHO is increasingly enraged by what it sees as a moral scandal, namely that rich countries are cornering vaccine stocks while developing countries struggle to vaccinate their most vulnerable populations.
By launching new clinical trials to test treatments, the WHO hopes to find additional means to reduce, in particular, mortality linked to Covid as well as the length of hospitalization.
“We already have many tools to prevent, test and treat Covid-19, including oxygen, dexamethasone and interleukin 6 antagonists. But more is needed for all patients to have a severe or mild form of the disease, ”said Dr Tedros.
WHO launched the Solidarity Trial last year. The provisional results, published in October 2020, show that the four treatments evaluated on nearly 13,000 patients (remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon) “had little or no effect on overall mortality, the initiation of ventilation and length of hospital stay in hospitalized patients ”, according to the WHO.
The final results are expected to be released in September, said Dr Tedros.