The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Tuesday that some therapies have shown limited promise in treating the coronavirus, but warned that the data is limited and that a vaccine — if indeed there ever is one — could be months away.
As Reuters reports, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said that some of the drugs that have been researched since the pandemic broke have provided “potentially positive data” when it comes to treating COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus. However, she warned that none of those treatments have, as of this writing, proved to be a magic bullet against the pandemic.
“We do have some treatments that seem to be in very early studies limiting the severity or the length of the illness but we do not have anything that can kill or stop the virus,” she said.
Harris didn’t point to any specific drug or study. However, since the pandemic broke, a number of drugs and other therapies have shown some encouraging results.
For example, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, in late April the manufacturer of the anti-viral drug remdesivir announced that the medicine, normally used to treat patients with the Ebola virus, was effective in treating COVID-19.
Similarly, a research team last week revealed that a three-drug combination of antiviral therapies — lopinavir-ritonavir, which is used to treat HIV/AIDS; ribavirin, which treats hepatitis; and interferon beta, which treats multiple sclerosis — showed promise in treating COVID-19 in a Hong Kong trial.
However, in every case in which a drug manufacturer or any other source has reported positive outcomes in the battle against the virus and the disease it causes, that news is always reported in the context of the fact that drug trials take years, not months; that the findings are preliminary; and the more and broader studies are required.
It’s a sentiment echoed by Harris.
“We do have potentially positive data coming out but we need to see more data to be 100% confident that we can say this treatment over that one,” she said.
Harris also predicted that the epicenter of the pandemic, now in the United States, could soon move to Africa. However, she noted that Africa, which is used to battling infectious diseases, has better systems in place to battle the pandemic. Those systems include contact tracing, as well as a “deep, deep, deep memory” when it comes to disease outbreaks, possibly spurring African governments — and regular Africans — to take the pandemic more seriously.