GENEVA, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) — Latest results from an international trial coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO) on four COVID-19 therapeutic drugs indicated that they have “little or no” effect in preventing death from COVID-19 or reducing time in hospital, the WHO said on Friday.
WHO discontinued the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial in June and the combination of lopinavir and ritonavir in July, citing that the two therapeutics had brought little reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
“Interim results from the trial now show that the other two drugs in the trial, remdesivir and interferon, have little or no effect in preventing death from COVID-19 or reducing time in hospital,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing on Friday.
The results were from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, overseen by the WHO.
According to Tedros, the Solidarity Trial is still recruiting about 2,000 patients every month and will assess other treatments, including monoclonal antibodies and new antivirals.
“For the moment, the corticosteroid dexamethasone is still the only therapeutic shown to be effective against COVID-19, for patients with severe disease,” Tedros said, adding that full results of the trial are expected to be published shortly in a leading scientific journal.
The Solidarity Trial, launched in March, is the world’s largest randomized controlled trial of COVID-19 therapeutics, involving almost 13,000 patients in 500 hospitals in 30 countries, according to the WHO.
As the world is in struggling to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, countries including France, Italy, China, Russia, Britain and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the WHO, as of Oct. 15, there were 198 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 42 of them were in clinical trials.