Drugs used for COVID-19 fail to stop deaths: WHO

A batch of drugs, at least the one used in the treatment of COVID-19, was unable to prevent deaths in patients infected with the novel coronavirus, a World Health Organization (WHO) study showed Friday. 

In six months, the world’s largest randomized control trial on COVID-19 therapeutics generated conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of repurposed drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

“Interim results from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir, and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.

Speaking at a UN briefing for journalists in Geneva, Jasarevic said although the results for the first four treatment options evaluated were unpromising, the global platform is now available to rapidly evaluate promising new treatment options, with nearly 500 hospitals participating as trial sites.

The study spanned more than 30 countries and looked at the effects of treatments on overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay in hospitalized patients.

Other uses of the drugs, for example, in treating patients in the community or for prevention would have to be examined using different trials.