India will soon join the World Health Organisation initiated clinical trials aimed at quickly developing treatments for COVID-19. The programme named as “Solidarity trial” is part of the rapid global search for drugs to the global pandemic using the some of the existing anti-viral drugs.
Though the country was not part of this multi-country trial, due to its comparatively smaller sample size, it has now decided to join the same as the patient population is rapidly rising here as well, said R. Gangakhedkar, head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The WHO trial will test four different drugs or combinations — remdesivir, a combination of two drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir, the two drugs plus interferon beta, and chloroquine — and will compare their efficacy to the standard of care. “We have to prioritise what we need right now to deal with the situation. ICMR is currently looking at re-purposed (finding additional indication of existing drugs) with known drug molecules to find treatment for COVID-19. We don’t have the luxury of time right now,” he said. “Our priority is drugs for quickly treating the infection and not vaccines,” he added
There are about 30 vaccine groups that are being explored worldwide against COVID-19. Out of this, five have gone into animal-toxicity study.