The World Health Organization (WHO) says three drugs already used for other conditions will be used to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients as part of the global Solidarity PLUS trial program.
The three drugs – artesunate, imatinib and infliximab – were chosen by an independent panel of experts looking to find additional COVID treatments.
Artesunate is used to treat severe malaria, imatinib is used with some cancers, and infliximab is prescribed for Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other immune system disorders.
The drugs were donated for the trial by their manufacturers. Ipca makes artesunate, while Novartis makes imatinib and Johnson & Johnson makes infliximab.
“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need, and WHO is proud to lead this global effort,” said WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “I would like to thank the participating governments, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, clinicians and patients, who have come together to do this in true global solidarity.”
The Solidarity PLUS trial involves thousands of researchers in over 600 hospitals in 52 countries. This allows the trial to assess multiple treatments at the same time while using a single protocol and reaching thousands of patients.
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.
Image: WHO file