WHO’s Solidarity clinical trial enters a new phase with three new candidate drugs

Aug. 12, 2021

The Solidarity PLUS trial will enroll hospitalized patients to test three new drugs in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The therapies — artesunate, imatinib and infliximab — were selected by an independent expert panel for their potential in reducing the risk of death in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. They are already used for other indications: artesunate is used for severe malaria, imatinib for certain cancers, and infliximab for diseases of the immune system such as Crohn’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

These drugs were donated for the trial by their manufacturers.

The WHO said the Solidarity PLUS trial involves thousands of researchers in over 600 hospitals in 52 countries, 16 more countries than the first phase of trials. “This allows the trial to assess multiple treatments at the same time using a single protocol, recruiting thousands of patients to generate robust estimates on the effect a drug may have on mortality--even moderate effects, the WHO said. “It also allows new treatments to be added and ineffective treatments to be dropped throughout the course of the trial.”

Previously, four drugs were evaluated by the trial. The results showed that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon had little or no effect on hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

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