The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that the first vaccine trial for the Covid-19 virus has begun as the world continues to battle the growing pandemic.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the trial had commended “just 60 days after the genetic sequence of the coronavirus was shared.”
Tedros paid tribute to the “incredible achievement” of researchers around the world “who have come together to systemically evaluate experimental therapeutics.”
“WHO continues to call on all countries to implement a comprehensive approach, with the aim of slowing down #COVID19 transmission and flattening the curve.
This approach is saving lives and buying time for the development of vaccines and treatments”-@DrTedros #coronavirus29311:25 PM – Mar 18, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy203 people are talking about this
He said that “multiple small trials with different methods” may not result in the clear and strong evidence needed about which treatments save lives. The WHO and its partners are therefore organizing a large study across many countries to compare some untested treatments.
The study will be called the ‘Solidarity trial’ to reflect its unified nature.
“The Solidarity trial provides simplified procedures to enable even hospitals that have been overloaded to participate,” Tedros said, adding that countries including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand have already joined.
The Solidarity Response Fund has raised over $43 million from more than 173,000 individuals and organizations. Tedros thanked FIFA in particular for donating $10 million to the fund.
He said the Covid-19 crisis presents “unprecedented opportunity to come together as one against a common enemy.”
There are now more than 200,000 cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide, and over 8,000 deaths, with Europe taking over from Asia as the epicenter of the pandemic. Europe’s death toll from the virus is currently around 3,421, surpassing the 3,384 recorded deaths in Asia.
EU leaders announced on Tuesday that the bloc would close its external borders for 30 days in an effort to combat the spread of the illness.