Some drugs show promise against COVID-19, WHO says

Early research shows that some drugs may help combat COVID-19, but more research must be done, World Health Organization officials said, according to CNBC.

"A number of drugs" that treat coronaviruses SARS and MERS have shown promise for fighting COVID-19, Mike Ryan, MD, WHO's executive director of health emergencies, said during a March 30 news briefing.

There is "some preliminary data from non-randomized studies, observational studies, that indicate some drugs and some drug cocktails may have an impact," Dr. Ryan said. 

Two of the possible treatments being tested are anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. 

There are a "number of ongoing trials," according to Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, head of WHO's emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, but "many of these trials are small in size, which makes it very difficult to draw any conclusions."

Dr. Van Kerkhove emphasized the importance of having large clinical trials to understand what drugs are actually effective against COVID-19. 

On March 27, WHO urged people to stop using medicines that have not been proven to treat COVID-19.  

"So that we're clear, there's no proven effective therapeutic or drug against COVID-19," Dr. Ryan said.

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