GENEVA — The World Health Organization says it will soon test three drugs used for other diseases to see if they might help patients sickened by the coronavirus.
In a statement on Wednesday, the U.N. health agency says the three drugs would be adopted into the next phase of its ongoing global research into identifying potential treatments for COVID-19. The drugs were chosen by an independent panel based on the likelihood they could prevent deaths in people hospitalized for coronavirus.
They include artesunate, a malaria drug, the cancer drug imatinib, and infliximab, currently used in people with diseases of the immune system.
WHO’s ongoing study into COVID-19 treatments previously assessed four drugs. Among its findings, the agency determined that remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine didn’t help people hospitalized with the virus. WHO’s research includes thousands of researchers in hundreds of hospitals in 52 countries.
“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need,” says WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.