WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE

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16-Oct-2020 00:03:43
WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said interim result from trials on Remdesivir and Interferon have shown that the two drugs “have little or no effect in preventing death from COVID-19 or reducing time in hospital” for COVID-19 patients. WHO

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STORY: WHO / COVID-19 UPDATE
TRT: 3:43
SOURCE: WHO
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 16 OCTOBER 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

RECENT - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Aerial shot, WHO headquarters

16 OCTOBER 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
"Six months ago, WHO launched the Solidarity Trial to evaluate the effectiveness of four drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. The Solidarity Trial is the world’s largest randomized controlled trial of COVID-19 therapeutics, involving almost 13,000 patients in 500 hospitals in 30 countries. In June, we announced that we were discontinuing the hydroxychloroquine arm of the study, and in July we announced that we would no longer enroll patients to receive the combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir. Interim results from the trial now show that the other two drugs in the trial, Remdesivir and Interferon, have little or no effect in preventing death from COVID-19 or reducing time in hospital. We expect the full results to be published shortly in a leading scientific journal."
4. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We have a large body of evidence from randomized clinical trials, very unusual in a pandemic situation to have this body of evidence on drugs within six months. Now that there is a good body of evidence, the guidelines need to be evidence based. And so, countries regulatory agencies are going to be relooking at the data and making decisions. WHO's going to do that but I'm sure that many countries and many regulatory agencies are going to do that as well, because you need to look at the benefits versus the risks, and the cost of course, and the equity considerations. And then, every country will need to make a call on this. But as I said, WHO will come out with its policy guidance in the next couple of weeks.”
6. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The co-circulation of influenza and COVID-19 may present challenges for health systems and health facilities, since both diseases present with many similar symptoms. For that reason, WHO is working with countries to take a holistic approach to the preparedness, prevention, control and treatment of all respiratory diseases, including influenza and COVID-19. Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing COVID-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation and masks. And although we don’t yet have a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, we do have safe and effective vaccines for influenza."
8. Wide shot, WHO officials at dais
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Sylvie Briand, Director, Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, World Health Organization (WHO):
“And, maybe it's due to these measures that in the Southern hemisphere, during their influenza season actually, they saw a very limited flu transmission. It was unexpected and very surprising, but literally there was nearly no flu this year in the Southern hemisphere. So, we hope that the situation will be the same in the Northern hemisphere and hope that the precautionary measures really are also good for preventing flu as well.”
10. Close up, WHO emblem inside conference room

STORYLINE:

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said interim result from trials on Remdesivir and Interferon have shown that the two drugs “have little or no effect in preventing death from COVID-19 or reducing time in hospital” for COVID-19 patients.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva today (16 Oct), Dr Tedros said WHO had launched the Solidarity Trial to evaluate the effectiveness of four drugs for the treatment of COVID-19 some six months ago, and announced discontinued studies on hydroxychloroquine and the combination of Lopinavir and Ritonavir in June and July respectively. He said Solidarity Trial is “the world’s largest randomized controlled trial of COVID-19 therapeutics, involving almost 13,000 patients in 500 hospitals in 30 countries.” He expected the full results to be published “shortly in a leading scientific journal."

WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said, “We have a large body of evidence from randomized clinical trials, very unusual in a pandemic situation to have this body of evidence on drugs within six months. Now that there is a good body of evidence, the guidelines need to be evidence based. And so, countries regulatory agencies are going to be relooking at the data and making decisions. WHO's going to do that but I'm sure that many countries and many regulatory agencies are going to do that as well, because you need to look at the benefits versus the risks, and the cost of course, and the equity considerations. And then, every country will need to make a call on this. But as I said, WHO will come out with its policy guidance in the next couple of weeks.”

Dr Tedros noted that the co-circulation of influenza and COVID-19 may present challenges for health systems and health facilities, since both diseases present with many similar symptoms. He said, “For that reason, WHO is working with countries to take a holistic approach to the preparedness, prevention, control and treatment of all respiratory diseases, including influenza and COVID-19. Many of the same measures that are effective in preventing COVID-19 are also effective for preventing influenza, including physical distancing, hand hygiene, covering coughs, ventilation and masks. And although we don’t yet have a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19, we do have safe and effective vaccines for influenza."

Dr Sylvie Briand, Director of WHO’s Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness said measures take to combat COVID-19 may have resulted in a “very limited flu transmission” in the Southern hemisphere. She said this was “unexpected and very surprising, but literally there was nearly no flu this year in the Southern hemisphere.” She hoped that the situation will be the same in the Northern hemisphere and that precautionary measures to combat COVID-19 “really are also good for preventing flu as well.”
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