WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Photo: AFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) has backed India and South Africa's joint proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Taking to Twitter, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus wrote: "@WHO welcomes South Africa’s and India’s recent proposal to @wto to ease international & intellectual property agreements on #COVID19 vaccines, treatments & tests in order to make the tools available to all who need them at an affordable cost."

"WHO launched the covid-19 Technology Access Pool (CTAP) in May, inviting countries to share data, knowledge and intellectual property on vital, life-saving health products in the fight against the coronavirus," Ghebreyesus added.

As per reports, South Africa and India have urged the World Trade Organization to waive some provisions in the international agreements that regulate intellectual property rights, to speed up efforts to prevent, treat and contain the COVID-19 pandemic and make sure developing countries are not left behind.

Meawhile, the interim results of 'WHO Solidarity Trial' indicate that four repurposed drugs for COVID-19 --remdesivir, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir/ritonavir and interferon regimens --appeared to have little or no effect on reducing mortality, initiation of ventilation and duration of hospital stay.

The interim findings of the trial in which the four drugs were tested in 405 hospitals across 30 countries, covering 11,266 adults, were released on 'medRxiv', a preprint server, on Thursday. The findings are under review for publication in a medical journal.

The findings hold significance as the use of remdesivir (for restricted emergency use purposes) has been recommended for treating coronavirus patients in moderate stage of the illness as "investigational therapies" in Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 issued by the Union health ministry. The WHO Solidarity Trial was conducted from March 22 to October 4.

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