WHO sees first results from COVID drug trials within two weeks

A pharmaceutics worker shows a shot of a vaccine developed by Zydus Cadila to treat the COVID-19 coronavirus after it received approval from the Drug Controller General of India.

A pharmaceutics worker shows a shot of a vaccine developed by Zydus Cadila to treat the COVID-19 coronavirus after it received approval from the Drug Controller General of India.

AFP/Zydus Cadila

GENEVA - The World Health Organization (WHO) should soon get results from clinical trials it is conducting of drugs that might be effective in treating COVID-19 patients, its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.

"Nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries have so far been recruited into the Solidarity trial," he told a news briefing, referring to clinical studies the UN agency is conducting.

"We expect interim results within the next two weeks."

READ: South Africa to start Africa's first coronavirus vaccine trial

The Solidarity Trial started out in five parts looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; the anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump, hydroxychloroquine; the HIV drugs lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.

Earlier this month, it stopped the arm testing hydroxychloroquine, after studies indicated it showed no benefit in those who have the disease, but more work is still needed to see whether it may be effective as a preventative medicine.

Mike Ryan, head of the WHO's emergencies programme, said it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine could be ready against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has killed more than half a million people.

READ: India approves human trials for second COVID-19 vaccine candidate

While a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by year's end, the question was how soon it could be mass-produced, he told the UN journalists' association ACANU in Geneva.

There is no proven vaccine against the disease now, while 18 potential candidates are being tested on humans.

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Source
Reuters