WHO launch trial testing 4 potential COVID-19 treatments


The World Health Organization (WHO) have launched SOLIDARITY, a giant trial, testing the potential of therapies, old and new, to beat the coronavirus that is causing the current pandemic..

In a press briefing last Friday, WHO director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the launch of SOLIDARITY, a giant multinational trial for testing therapies that researchers have suggested may be effective against COVID-19.

“That’s why WHO [have] launched the SOLIDARITY trial, to generate robust, high quality evidence as fast as possible,” Dr. Ghebreyesus said. 

Repurposing an experimental Ebola drug

Scientists originally developed remdesivir as a drug to treat Ebola. However, clinical trials later indicated that the compound was insufficiently effective against the virus that causes that disease.

The drug relies on a mechanism that appears to be effective against other viruses, specifically coronaviruses, however.

Research, appearing in Science Translational Medicine in 2017, suggested that remdesivir may be able to fight SARS and MERS.

So, more recently, investigators have started experimenting with the drug to fight SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

In one case study from earlier this month, doctors reported that a 35-year-old male from the United States, who received remdesivir after contracting the new coronavirus, started to recover soon after he began the drug. There have since been other reports of people recovering from COVID-19 thanks to this drug.

Remdesivir works by inhibiting a specific enzyme, RNA polymerase, which normally allows the virus to replicate. Without that enzyme, the virus becomes less able to maintain its hold on the body.

Commenting on a preliminary in vitro study, suggesting that remdesivir may be effective against SARS-CoV-2, Dr. Andrew Preston, from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, explains that the drug “mimics one of the building blocks of the viral genome, but is nonfunctional, causing premature termination of virus genome replication.”

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