WHO terminates two key pandemic drug trials

3 minute read

The World Health Organisation has terminated the hydroxychloroquine and ritonavir/lopinavir arms of its Solidarity COVID-19 trial.

Welcome to The Medical Republic‘s COVID Catch-Up.

From now on, we’re condensing the day’s COVID-19 news into one convenient post. Got any tips, comments or feedback? Email me at bianca@biancanogrady.com.

6 July

  • The World Health Organisation has terminated the hydroxychloroquine and ritonavir/lopinavir arms of its Solidarity COVID-19 trial based on interim results and findings from other clinical trials of the two treatment approaches. According to a statement from WHO, the results showed that both treatments were associated with little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients compared to standard of care.
  • In the first two months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Territory successfully contacted nearly 94% of close contacts of affected individuals, 90% of whom were quarantined and monitored for symptoms, according to a report in Communicable Diseases Intelligence.
    Over March and April this year, 28 cases of COVID-19 were reported in the Territory. Contact tracing identified a total of 527 close contacts – defined as individuals who had had more than 15 minutes face-to-face contact with an infected person, spent more than two hours in the same room as an infected person, sat within two rows on an aircraft, or been on a cruise that reported positive cases. Of these, 493 were contacted, 445 were quarantined in the Northern Territory, and four later tested positive after developing symptoms. Two of these were household contacts and two were cruise ship passengers.
  • Not-so-happy World Zoonoses Day! Given this is an annual event, it’s inevitable that sometimes this celebration of the first day a vaccine was administered against a zoonotic disease (rabies, by Louis Pasteur) will coincide with an epidemic or pandemic of a zoonotic disease. But SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic organism whose impact has dwarfed that of most other pathogens that have spread from animals to people, which makes this year’s celebration particularly relevant.
  • The numbers of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Victoria, prompting some harsh lockdown measures in parts of Melbourne as well as the announcement of border closures between the state and its neighbours. There is a report that The Royal Melbourne Hospital is reducing its elective surgeries to urgent patients or those who have been waiting for more than 120 days for a procedure, and has called a halt to bookings of any non-urgent surgical procedures.
    Meanwhile, NSW residents prone to checking the national COVID-19 figures over the weekend might have got a shock to see the figures for confirmed COVID-19 infections jump by around 200 in the space of 24 hours. Thankfully this wasn’t a major outbreak, but rather the addition of 198 historical COVID-19 cases recorded in crew of the Ruby Princess (the gift that just keeps on giving), which has now been added to Australia’s – and NSW’s – tally. Most of the state’s 19 new cases recorded on the weekend were in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
    The confirmed COVID-19 infection figures around Australia to 9pm Sunday night are:
    National – 8449, with 104 deaths and 7399 recovered
    ACT – 108
    NSW – 3419
    NT – 30
    QLD – 1067
    SA – 443
    TAS – 228
    VIC – 2536
    WA – 618

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