Over 100 countries join Solidarity Trial to evaluate therapeutics for COVID-19
ꟷ600 hospitals to start enrolling patients this week
DPI, Guyana, Monday, April 20, 2020
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has disclosed that more than 100 countries have joined the Solidarity Trial to evaluate therapeutics for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
At Monday’s press briefing in Geneva, the Director-General explained that ‘Solidarity’ is an international clinical trial to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19.
The trial, which was launched by the WHO and its partners, will compare four treatment options against standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.
By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the Solidarity trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival. Other drugs can be added based on emerging evidence.
Dr. Ghebreyesus explained that 1,200 patients had been randomised from the first five countries, and this week, it is expected that more than 600 hospitals will be ready to start enrolling patients.
“The faster we recruit patients, the faster we will get results,” Dr. Ghebreyesus noted.
This is just one of several initiatives that the WHO is rolling out to fight the pandemic, which has seen over two million people infected worldwide and resulted in 157, 847 deaths.
The WHO, along with musicians, comedians, and humanitarians, on Saturday, hosted a “One World: Together at Home” concert. The event raised more than US$127Million to support several organisations responding to COVID-19, including US$55Million for WHO’s Solidarity Response Fund.
Dr. Ghebreyesus said the fund has now raised more than US$194Million from more than 270,000 individuals, corporations and foundations.
One of WHO’s priorities, he said, is to work with partners to increase the production and equitable distribution of diagnostics to the countries that need them most.
To achieve that, WHO has worked with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics, and the Clinton Health Access Initiative, to identify and validate five tests that can be manufactured in large quantities.
“Working together with the Global Fund, UNICEF and Unitaid, we have now placed orders for 30 million tests over the next four months. The first shipment of these tests will begin next week, through the United Nations Supply Chain we have established with the World Food Programme and other partners,” the WHO head said.
Additionally, over the past week, WHO has been working closely with the World Food Programme to deliver masks, goggles, test kits, face shields and other medical equipment to 40 countries.
This is part of the all-encompassing drive to keep supply chains moving and ensure crucial supplies reach 120 priority countries.
Through April and May, the Director-General said the WHO intends to ship almost 180 million surgical masks, 54 million N95 masks and more than three million protective goggles to countries that need them most.
“Our commitment is to supporting all countries to save lives. That’s it, that’s our intention. That’s what we’re for: saving lives.”