SA expert: More drugs therapies need to be probed to treat COVID-19

Interim results from the WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial show four drugs in a multinational study have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital clinical outcomes of severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

CAPE TOWN – A South African medical expert said more drug therapies should be investigated for the treatment of COVID19.

Interim results from the WHO’s Solidarity Therapeutics Trial show four drugs in a multinational study have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or the in-hospital clinical outcomes of severely ill, hospitalised COVID-19 patients.

The study spans 30 countries.

The South African leg of the Solidarity Trial commenced at the end of July.

The adaptive study initially had four arms – HIV drug Lopinavir/Ritonavir, anti-viral drug Remdesivir, anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquin and immunomodulator Interferon Beta-1a.

As scientific evidence emerged, the list was toned down to only Remdesivir and Interferon.

Solidarity Trial co-national principal investigator, Doctor Jeremy Nel, said anti-viral drug Remdesivir was the latest drug to show little benefit to COVID-19 patients.

“I do think it’s possible to say overall and across all patients there don’t seem to be any mortality benefits for Remdesivir.”

Nel said even though the result was negative, it was still important to have this data available.

“Even a negative result is helpful as it helps refocus priorities elsewhere.”

The preliminary results are yet to be peer-reviewed.

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