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WHO tests three potential Covid-19 treatments

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A photo taken in the late hours of August 17, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

The World Health Organization on Wednesday announced major international trials of three drugs to see if they improve the condition of hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

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Artesunate, imatinib and infliximab will be tested on patients in more than 600 hospitals in 52 countries.

“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for Covid-19 patients remains a critical need,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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Artesunate is a treatment for severe malaria; imatinib a drug used for certain cancers and infliximab a treatment for immune system disorders such as Crohn’s and rheumatoid arthritis.

They were donated for the trial by their manufacturers and are already being shipped out to the hospitals involved.

“We already have many tools to prevent, test for and treat Covid-19, including oxygen, dexamethasone and IL-6 blockers. But we need more, for patients at all ends of the clinical spectrum, from mild to severe disease,” Tedros told a press conference.

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