The World Health Organization trial has used four drugs including the antiviral remdesivir in the hospital treatment of COVID-19 and has found the repurposed medicines have little effect.

It is reported that Remdesivir developed for Ebola by US pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, was one of the earliest treatments put forward for COVID-19 Julie Fischer, an associate research professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University told AI Jazeera, “What all of us would like to see is what is frequently called a ‘magic bullet’, a drug that’s already in existence, that is safe and works effectively in patients. Unfortunately, in this case, this trial at least suggests the benefits of remdesivir weren’t there at all”.

In a statement, Gilead said it was “concerned” that the data from the trial had not undergone vigorous review and that it was unclear whether any “conclusive findings” could be drawn from the results. Earlier this month, data from a US study of remdesivir by Gilead showed the treatment cut patients COVID-19 recovery time by five days compared with patients who got a placebo in a trial comprised of 1,062 subjects.

Solidarity continues to recruit about 2,000 patients a month in its search for more effective treatments for COVID-19 with many countries, especially in Europe, now experiencing a surge in new cases of Coronavirus. Nearly 39 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than one million have died. Newer anti-viral drugs immunomodulators and anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies are now being considered for evaluation, the WHO said. “We’re looking at what’s next,” the global health agency’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said.

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