More global trials for 3 COVID-19 drugs: WHO

The 3 drugs — used to treat malaria, cancer and immune disorders — will be tested on thousands of volunteer patients across 600 hospitals in 52 countries

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 12 August 2021
New phase of WHO solidarity trials against COVID-19 will test three more drugs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) August 11, 2021 announced another phase of international trials to test three new drugs to treat hospitalised coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients.

The three drugs to be investigated in the next phase of WHO Solidarity trials, called Solidarity PLUS, are artesunate, imatinib and infliximab. They will be tested on thousands of volunteer patients across 600 hospitals in 52 countries.

The first phase of these trials spanned 36 countries.

The WHO Solidarity trial is multinational clinical trial that compares untested treatments for hospitalised people with severe COVID-19 illness. The trial was announced March 18, 2020.

Among the drugs being investigated are remdesivir, lopinavir / ritonavir combined, lopinavir / ritonavir combined with interferon-beta and hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.

Interim results from these trials had indicated that these regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalised patients, according to a study published in journal New England Journal of Study October 15, 2020.

The three new drugs under investigation are:

  • Artesunate is used to treat malaria; it will be administered intravenously for seven days as part of the trial.
  • Imatinib is used to treat cancer. According to the WHO release: “It will be administered orally, once daily, for 14 days. The dose used is the standard maintenance dose, which is at the lower end of the dose patients with haematological malignancies are given over extended periods”.
  • Infliximab is used to treat diseases of the immune system. It will be administered intravenously as a single dose. The dose used is the standard dose that patients with Crohn’s Disease are given over extended periods.

These drugs have been donated for the trial by their manufacturers.

“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need, and WHO is proud to lead this global effort,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing.

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