The World Health Organization (WHO) is adding three anti-inflammatory therapies to its global Solidarity COVID-19 trial. WHO is referring to the expanded trial as “Solidarity PLUS.”
WHO will investigate the following drugs as potential treatments for hospitalized COVID-19 patients:
- Ipca Laboratories’ artesunate is an FDA-indicated treatment for severe malaria in adult and pediatric patients. Last year, the drug became the only drug with that indication. In vivo and in vitro SARS-CoV-2 studies involving artesunate have been promising. A study published in ACS Chemical Neuroscience concluded that the drug could potentially treat neurological symptoms related to COVID-19.
- Novartis’s Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) is a kinase inhibitor. FDA indications for the drug include a range of cancers, including leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. A separate group of researchers is also evaluating the safety and efficacy of the drug in hospitalized adults with COVID-19.
- Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade (infliximab) is a tumor necrosis factor blocker. FDA indications of the drug include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis and plaque psoriasis. There has been limited research on the potential of Remicade as a COVID-19 treatment. A study published in Gut, however, found that patients receiving the drug for inflammatory bowel disease had an attenuated anti-COVID-19 antibody response after receiving a single dose of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.
The manufacturers of the drugs donated them to WHO for the trial.
WHO believes that the clinical trial is “unprecedented” in scope, involving 600 hospitals located in 52 countries.
The broader Solidarity trial is investigating multiple treatments simultaneously with a single protocol. The trial design enables investigators to weigh in on various therapies’ relative advantages and disadvantages while dropping ineffective drugs from the trial.
The trial had concluded earlier that Remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir and interferon were ineffective in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. In November 2020, WHO recommended against the use of Gilead Sciences’ Remdesivir. In June, Gilead released data supporting Remdesivir’s use in hospitalized COVID-19 patients based on three real-world data sets.
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease