The World Health Organisation (WHO) is developing a master plan for coordinating clinical trials that could lead to potential therapies for patients infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced this at a news conference in Geneva, at the conclusion of a two-day research and innovation forum on COVID-19.
The leading health experts from around the world met to assess the current level of knowledge about the new disease, identify gaps and work together so that critical research can begin immediately.
These include decisions surrounding easy to apply diagnostics, the best approaches for infection prevention, potential therapies that could be used to treat patients, existing vaccine candidates and how to accelerate them.
Ghebreyesus described the outcome of the meeting as the “infodemic” – the overwhelming quantity of information, being produced and disseminated worldwide.
“The WHO is extending investigations into the source of the virus (which is still undetermined). The agency will continue to support countries with the tools to diagnose cases and protect health workers, including personal protective equipment,’’ he said.
As of Wednesday (Geneva time) there were 44,730 cases of COVID-19 in China, with 1,114 deaths.
In the rest of the world, the figure was 441 cases and one death.
Although the number of newly confirmed cases has stabilised in China, Ghebreyesus cautioned that the outbreak “could still go in any direction”.