NEW DELHI :
THE World Health Organisation (WHO), on Friday, said that it is going to launch a second protocol for the Solidarity Trial soon. “WHO would soon be launching a second protocol for the Solidarity Trial that will help establish incidence and prevalence of infection and the future behaviour of the virus,” Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia said in a press statement. At least three South-East Asia member countries, including India, Indonesia and Thailand have already signed up for the multi-country trial, which will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against COVID-19.
The Regional Director commended countries in the Region for participating in the WHO Solidarity Trial. On Thursday, the World Health Organisation chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told media at a press conference “The Solidarity trial, which is assessing potential treatments for COVID-19, has already brought in 74 countries, which have either joined the trial or are in the process of joining,” adding more than 200 patients have been randomly assigned to one of the study arms. “It is a historic undertaking that will dramatically reduce the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs are effective in treating COVID-19.
The more countries that join, the faster we will have the results. I urge all countries to sign up,” Dr Khetrapal Singh said. The Regional Director held a virtual meeting with health ministers of the Region to review the challenges. Most countries highlighted the need for essential medical equipment, testing kits, personal protective equipment for health workers and enhancing health systems capacities, specially to respond to community transmission.
According to the WHO, nearly 1.5 billion people - in Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand together - are currently experiencing lockdowns. Supported by communities. “We should start to see the impact of these measures in the coming weeks. Simultaneously, this is also an opportunity for countries to enhance capacities of their health systems,” said Dr Khetrapal Singh. The Regional Head, Dr Kherapal suggested that a more comprehensive approach is needed with communities. Most importantly, communities need to be engaged and empowered to take appropriate decisions and measures. “The onus must be on each one. At this stage, everyone needs to contribute to minimize health as well as socio-economic impact of the pandemic,” she said. WHO has called for a stronger whole of society approach in the South-East Asia Region.