The results of the UN-coordinated trial of four anti-viral drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 have indicated that they have “little or no” positive impact in reducing the mortality rate of the patients, said World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement on October 16. What the United Nations (UN) health agency called “world’s largest randomized control trial” on COVID-19 therapeutics which lasted for six months, has generated conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of repurposed medications - Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon for treating COVID-19 patients.
However, WHO concluded that these four COVID-19 therapeutics “appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital course of COVID-19 among hospitalized patients.”
Spanning in over 30 countries, the ‘Solidarity Therapeutics Trial’ overseen by WHO had begun in March to monitor the effects of these treatments on overall mortality, need for ventilation, along with the duration for which the patient is required to hospitalised. Meanwhile, other uses of the four mentioned repurposed drugs such as treatment of COVID-19 patients in the community or for preventing the spread of infections, would be included in separate trials.
The results of the trial are currently under review for publication in a medical journal but have been uploaded as a preprint at medRxiv. It concluded by saying, “No study drug definitely reduced mortality (in unventilated patients or any other subgroup of entry characteristics), initiation of ventilation or hospitalisation duration.”
Meanwhile, in a separate but related announcement, WHO said that COVID-19 has also highlighted the increased vulnerability of people with high blood pressure to the COVID-19. Based on the data from more than 120 countries that showed significant COVID-19-related disruption to the treatment of people suffering from chronic health conditions, UN health agency warned that such patients make up 50 to 60 per cent of all deaths from the novel coronavirus infections.
As per the UN statement, Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Director of WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases has noted that more than 1.13 billion people around the world suffer from hypertension. Moreover, of this number, 745,800,000 reside in low and middle-income nations and 80 per cent of these countries have less than 50 per cent of people on treatment.