The World Health Organization is testing three additional drugs as part of a massive global trial to find effective treatments for Covid-19, the agency announced on Wednesday.
The trial, which involves researchers from more than 600 hospitals in 52 countries, will evaluate whether the drugs already approved for other uses — one for malaria, one for cancer, and one for autoimmune diseases — can reduce patients’ risk of death. reduce those hospitalized with Covid.
dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said on Wednesday he hoped that “one or more of the drugs” would be effective in treating the virus.
While there are already some treatments available for people with Covid-19, including steroids and monoclonal antibodies, said Dr. Tedros: “We need more for patients at all ends of the clinical spectrum.”
The first phase of the WHO’s trials for new drugs, which it called Solidarity, produced disappointing results. Researchers found that four different drugs, including hydroxychloroquine and the antiviral drug remdesivir, had little or no benefit for hospitalized Covid patients.
The three drugs in the new trial, called Solidarity Plus, have been selected by an independent panel of experts and are donated by their manufacturers, Ipca, Novartis and Johnson & Johnson. The drugs are artesunate, an antimalarial drug that may have an anti-inflammatory effect; imatinib, a cancer medicine that can help repair lung damage; and infliximab, an autoimmune disease drug that can help suppress an overly aggressive immune response to the virus.