WHO begins mega trial of 4 promising drugs to cure Covid-19

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 24, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a global mega trial of the four most promising drugs that may cure the novel coronavirus. The mega trial is called Solidarity, under which the study, testing, and development of antidote against coronavirus will be made, as per the Science Magazine report.

While many scientists have recommended dozens of existing compounds for testing, WHO is focusing on what it says are the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.

The Science magazine report revealed that the use of HIV drugs to combat Covid-19 has failed in a small study in China. However, WHO believes a large trial with a greater variety of patients is warranted.

According to Ana Maria Henao Restrepo, Medical Officer, WHO, ‘Solidarity’ will procure robust results from the study as several thousands of patients will likely have to been recruited to conduct the testing.

She stated in an official release: “It will be important to get answers quickly, to try to find out what works and what doesn’t work. We think that randomized evidence is the best way to do that.”


The new coronavirus outbreak may lead to the re-emergence of the Remdesivir drug that was widely used to combat Ebola and other dangerous viruses in the past.

Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine

At a press conference last week, President Donald Trump called chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine a “game-changer”. Trump said: “I feel good about it”.

His remarks have led to a rush in demand for the decades-old anti-malarials. The drug is used to treat patients suffering from malaria.

Ritonavir and lopinavir

This combination of the drug is given to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). While there is no complete treatment for people infected with the HIV virus, this combination of the drug tends to slow down the process of deterioration of organs.

In India, this combination of the drug was also used to treat the first case of coronavirus who were a couple from Italy.

Ritonavir/lopinavir and interferon-beta

‘Solidarity’ will also test this drug, which is also being used to treat Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) patients in Saudi Arabia.

Published on March 24, 2020

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