(CNN Español) — For months some drugs have been put to the test to combat the effects of covid-19, many of them widely proclaimed, but with little effect, according to the World Health Organization, WHO.
The WHO published a study on Thursday in which four drugs were evaluated: remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir / ritonavir, and interferon. These have been used for months in patients with Covid-19, but the WHO said the findings on their efficacy are as “conclusive” as they are disappointing.
‘Interim results from the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial, coordinated by the World Health Organization, indicate that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir / ritonavir, and interferon regimens appeared to have little or no effect on 28-day mortality or hospital course among patients with COVID-19 hospitalized, “says the report.
None of them helped patients live longer or reduce their hospital stay, according to the WHO.
It is one of the drugs that US President Donald Trump has said he has used to prevent covid-19. This despite the fact that multiple studies have shown that there is no evidence that taking it can prevent infection and could even be harmful.
Hydroxychloroquine, also known by the brand name Plaquenil, and its analog, chloroquine, are derived from quinine, which French chemists isolated in 1820 from the bark of the cinchona tree, according to Medicines for Malaria Venture.
It is used to treat or prevent malaria and to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Since 2006 its use to treat severe malaria has not been recommended due to resistance problems, particularly in the Oceania region, according to the World Health Organization.
There is no evidence that taking hydroxychloroquine can prevent infection with COVID-19.
This is another of the drugs that according to the WHO “seemed to have little or no effect” in the treatment of people hospitalized for covid-19.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been tested for years against other diseases such as the Ebola virus, MERS and SARS, it is an experimental drug that does not have approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .
Gilead Sciences, the manufacturing company, describes it as a “nucleotide analog with broad-spectrum antiviral activity.”
The key word here is experimental, because as the same company says, remdesivir has not been approved for any use by any country in the world.
“It is an experimental medicine that has not been established to be safe or effective for the treatment of any condition,” they explain.
Although it was the only drug with an emergency use authorization specifically for COVID-19 by the FDA, a large controlled investigation for this drug in the US found that it reduced recovery time by about a third in seriously ill hospitalized adults with COVID-19, but does little to help those with milder cases.
Lopinavir / ritonavir
This combination of drugs is used against HIV. This treatment “prevents HIV from making copies of itself,” says the page of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is also being studied in the treatment of some types of cancer.
In June this year, UK researchers reported that this combination of drugs did not help hospitalized patients for COVID-19 treatment.
“There was no significant difference in the primary endpoint of mortality at 28 days,” the team wrote on the study website known as Recovery.
About 22% of the patients who received the two drugs died, compared with 21% of those who did not.
“Today, the Steering Committee of the trial concluded that there is no beneficial effect of lopinavir-ritonavir in hospitalized patients with covid-19 and closed randomization to that treatment group,” they said.
“There was also no evidence of beneficial effects on the risk of progression to mechanical ventilation or the length of hospital stay,” added the team.
Interferon beta-1a is used to treat multiple sclerosis which has been approved for use by injection in several other trials.
This medicine is one of the medicines called ‘immunomodulators’. It is used to reduce episodes of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
The results of the WHO study on these four have not been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal. But the agency sent them to a prepress server.