Isaac Owusu Asiedu labels samples at Noguchi Advanced Research Laboratories, where samples of COVID-19 are tested. WHO is supporting Ghana to increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity. The country’s ability to test for COVID-19 has increase significantly and innovative technologies like drone drops of samples are being used.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the next phase in its Solidarity trial, and be will enrolling hospitalized patients to test three new drugs in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

These therapies, namely, artesunate, imatinib and infliximab, according to WHO, 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,” a statement by the organization on Wednesday, said.

These drugs were donated for the trial by their manufacturers.

“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need, and WHO is proud to lead this global effort,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“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 is a platform trial that represents the largest global collaboration among WHO Member States. It 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.

It also allows new treatments to be added and ineffective treatments to be dropped throughout the course of the trial.

WHO also noted that 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.

It said through the Solidarity PLUS trial, researchers across the world have an opportunity to use their expertise and resources to contribute to global COVID-19 research.

Meanwhile, the organization, through its WHO R&D Blueprint, is organising a consultation on the state of the art and best research methods to evaluate existing, modified and new COVID-19 vaccines.

The objectives of the consultation which comes up August 13, according to WHO, is to review the available evidence on the efficacy and effectiveness of vaccines being deployed in terms of emerging variants effect on protection levels, duration of protection, safety of booster vaccines and research to evaluate various delivery strategies.

It says during the consultation, experts will debate the methodological strength and limitations of existing data and the potential designs to generate additional data leading to evidence-based decisions.

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