WHO relaunches global drug trial with three new candidates

Summary

After more than 6 months in the doldrums, one of the world’s largest trials of COVID-19 treatments is finally restarting. Solidarity, a global study led by the World Health Organization, will test three new drugs in hospitalized COVID-19 patients: the cancer drug imatinib, an antibody named infliximab that is used to treat autoimmune diseases, and artesunate, an antimalarial. When Solidarity started in March 2020 it was a first: an effort to test drugs in dozens of countries simultaneously in the middle of a pandemic. By late 2020 it had delivered verdicts on four treatments—none showed a benefit—but then became mired in negotiations with pharma companies and regulatory delays.

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