WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Therapeutics Trial


The World Health Organisation COVID-19 Solidarity Therapeutics Trial is an unprecedented international collaboration to identify life-saving treatments for COVID-19. Fifty-two countries, including Canada, are participating in this global research on coronavirus disease, with 2,000 researchers, 600 hospitals, and 14,200 randomized hospitalized patients who are all receiving the local standard of care.

This large scale, global randomized control trial is designed to provide robust results on whether a drug can save lives in those hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, and represents the largest global collaboration among WHO Member States. 

World Health Organization expert groups recommended mortality trials of four repurposed antiviral drugs — remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, and interferon beta-1a — in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. 

The Canadian Treatments for COVID-19 (CATCO) sub study component of the global WHO Solidarity clinical trial researched the role of Remdesivir, a repurposed antiviral medication, in the treatment of patients in hospital with COVID-19. This article in the CMAJ details the findings. 


“This trial found that in Canadian patients in hospital with COVID-19, Remdesivir, in combination with standard care, improved secondary outcomes of need for mechanical ventilation in patients not ventilated at entry, compared with standard care alone, while being underpowered to detect a difference in mortality. Understanding which patient populations would have the largest benefit should be the focus of future meta-analyses.”

“ The findings of CATCO are also important and complementary to Solidarity as they help to address questions of generalizability of a large simple protocol carried out across a wide range of hospitals and health care systems from low-, middle- and high-income countries. Canada has a well-developed and relatively resource-rich, nationally regulated and provincially administered system of acute and critical care,” the authors conclude.

WHO Solidarity Trial Consortium concluded that remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, and interferon regimens had little or no effect on hospitalized patients with Covid-19, as indicated by overall mortality, initiation of ventilation, and duration of hospital stay. Canada, France, India, and Norway led add-on studies that recorded other outcomes, and were not reported as part of these results. 

As part of the WHO Solidarity PLUS Trial, and the continued effort to evaluate treatment options, three additional drugs, Artesunate, Imatinib, and Infliximab, are now being evaluated in addition to the local standard of care.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic and preparing for future ones is an ongoing global approach that Canada and the world at large have a role to play with our research, studies, trials, and resources. 

The team at Physicians for You is hopeful that our global community finds meaningful results that empower our medical communities now and in the future. 

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Wednesday, 29 November 2023