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WHO follows tests, trials for vaccine


The global health body is monitoring 141 vaccines, which are under trials as a potential remedy to the Covid-19 disease.

Of these, 13 are under clinical trials, while 128 are on the pre-clinical stage. This is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) document dubbed Draft Landscape of Covid-19 Candidate Vaccines - 18 June 2020.

The majority of the vaccines recognised have been in for trial before for other viral diseases although they did not make the final cut, but scientists are revisiting them for a potential cure for Covid-19.

One such is a vaccine code-named ChAdOx1-S, which was developed for Chikungunya, Zika, TB, influenza, and Meningitis B and Adenovirus type 5 Vector for Ebola, among others.

The 13 vaccines on clinical trials, as of June 18, 2020, are between phases one and three. Only ChAdOx1-S has reached phase three.

The other 128 are yet to move into the first stage. It, however, takes an average of two years for any vaccine to enter the market, according to WHO.

While the 128 vaccines are either new or did not get a chance to be approved for the market, experts are mining a cure from already existing drugs that are registered and verified.

Dexamethasone and Baricitinib, which are registered drugs for arthritis and other ailments, are the latest ray of hope for a cure.

Fingers are, however, crossed as the world awaits full data set of the steroid drugs that have been touted to be a cure for the novel coronavirus.

Dexamethasone, an over the counter drug, was recommended by experts of Oxford University after a study was conducted in the UK.

The study shows that the drug would help reduce the mortality rate of coronavirus patients since it reduces inflammation caused by the immune system, therefore, protecting the human tissues.

From the study, coronavirus deaths of patients who are on ventilators would reduce by one-third while those of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

Clinicians are, however, skeptical of the negative impact the steroid could have once used on patients.

Speaking to CBC News, Respirologist of St Michaels Hospital, Canada, Dr Samir Gupta, said an assurance of the results was needed once complete, since the drug has effects that could negatively affect patients.

“We cannot take this drug lightly. Steroids do have side effects; they cause high sugar levels, loss of muscle mass and the patient can also become confused,” said Gupta.

He added: “If the results are what it is, then we will put those side effects aside.” The news on Dexamethasone comes as another drug, Baricitinib, enters its third phase of clinical trials. Baricitinib is used for treating rheumatoid arthritis in adults. The trials of the two drugs have been approved by WHO after the initial trials showed positive effects of Covid-19 patients.

So far, at least 3,581 drugs and products are on trial studies on the cure of coronavirus. But as much as the drugs show some hope, it is too soon to celebrate considering what happened to hydroxychloroquine after it was dropped by WHO.

Hydroxychloroquine failed three clinical trials despite scientists believing it had potential to treat the virus.


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