The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on April 24 that it is coordinating a global trial to assess the safety and efficacy of four treatments against COVID-19, as part of a larger effort that includes the development of diagnostics.
The organization said that heads of state and global health leaders have committed to accelerating the development and production of new vaccines, tests, and treatments for COVID-19. The entire world is at risk as long as the virus threatens any country, the WHO noted. To date, there have been more than 2.4 million cases globally and 160,000 deaths.
"There is an urgent need, therefore, while following existing measures to keep people physically distanced and to test and track all contacts of people who test positive, for innovative COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and treatments," the WHO said in a statement.
The collaboration started in January with the WHO working with researchers from hundreds of institutions to develop and test vaccines, standardize assays, standardize regulatory approaches on innovative trial designs, and define criteria to prioritize vaccine candidates. Their work together has led the WHO to prequalify diagnostics that are being used worldwide and to begin coordinating a trial of four potential treatments.
Leaders from many countries, including France, Germany, Vietnam, and the U.K., as well as health officials from numerous organizations, including the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI); GAVI, formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization; the Global Fund; and the International Red Cross, are involved in the broad-based project.