WHO  announces global ‘solidarity trial’ to jumpstart search for COVID-19 treatment

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Just 60 days after the genetic sequence of COVID-19 was shared by China, the first vaccine trial has begun, the UN health chief said on Wednesday, calling it “an incredible achievement” and urging the world to maintain “the same spirit of solidarity” that has helped fight Ebola.

Updating journalists at the regular press briefing in Geneva, UN World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that more than 200,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported and over 8,000 deaths.

He explained that because multiple small trials of the coronavirus vaccine with different methodologies may not provide the evidence needed, WHO and partners are organizing a study to compare untested treatments throughout several countries.
“This large, international study is designed to generate the robust data we need to show which treatments are the most effective”, said the WHO chief. “We have called this study the SOLIDARITY trial”.

And to date, Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand have confirmed that their participation.

“To suppress and control epidemics, countries must isolate, test, treat and trace”, he said, otherwise “transmission chains can continue at a low level, then resurge once physical distancing measures are lifted.

One week since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, cases continue to soar, roughly half the world’s student population is not attending school, parents are working remotely when possible, borders have been closed and lives have been upended.

“These are uncharted waters for all of us”, said Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund.  “At UNICEF, we are fighting a new virus, debunking myths and battling misinformation, all while looking after the well-being of our staff and our own families”.

UNICEF is helping to prevent the spread of the virus among communities in the affected countries by sharing accurate information on how to keep families safe and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on children’s access to health, education and social services.
“Now more than ever, we count on our donors to continue supporting our mission for those with nothing and no one – despite these difficult times”, Ms. Fore said.


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