The World Health Organisation has announced it has started trials to discover a treatment for coronavirus. Although a vaccine for COVID-19 will likely not be readily available for another 12 to 18 months, the health experts are attempting to treat the disease with existing drugs and drug combinations. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media briefing about the “historic” tests, but also warned viewers to not just use any drugs as it could be “harmful”.

He said: “Today we are delighted to announce that in Norway and Spain, the first patients will shortly be enrolled in the Solidarity Trial.

“This will compare the safety and effectiveness of four different drugs or drug combinations against COVID-19.

“This is a historic trial which will dramatically cut the time needed to generate robust evidence about what drugs work.

“More than 45 countries are contributing to the trial, and more have expressed interest.”

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Dr Tedros continued: “The more countries who join the trial, the faster we will have results.

“In the meantime, we call on individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19.

“The history of medicine is strewn with examples of drugs that worked on paper, or in a test tube, but didn’t work in humans or were actually harmful.

“During the most recent Ebola epidemic, for example, some medicines that were thought to be effective were found not to be as effective as other medicines when they were compared during a clinical trial.”

There are now nearly 600,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world.

Over 26,000 people have died after contracting it.

Italy currently holds the highest fatality rate at over 86,000.

In comparison, China, where the virus originated, has recorded 81,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Spain has also surpassed China to become the second worst hit country in the world.

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