The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari has stressed the socio-economic impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) require consideration, alongside its health impacts.
Al-Mandhari said that the WHO has officially halted the hydroxychloroquine arm of its international Solidarity Trial. The halt in clinical trials for the drug are based on evidence it does not reduce mortality among patients hospitalised with the coronavirus.
In a statement on Sunday, Al-Mandhari added that the ongoing research has also led to promising outcomes for the use of dexamethasone.
The initial clinical trial results from the UK showed that dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, is a potentially life-saving drug for patients critically ill with the virus, including patients on ventilators.
Over the past six months since the pandemic’s emergence in China, scientists and researchers have been working together to better understand the virus and its behaviour.
Al-Mandhari stressed the need for adapting to new realities related to the infection’s dynamics of community transmission, and how lockdowns and other public health measures impact people’s lives.
The availability of medical supplies, and the challenges faced by health systems, should also be highlighted.
Not all countries have been able to report their data systematically to the WHO. This has made it harder to obtain a clear picture of the transmission dynamics and severity of the disease in the region.
Al-Mandhari pointed out the difficulties many countries are facing related to identifying and documenting coronavirus fatalities.
“Differences in reporting methods and testing strategies affect the information we receive and can affect the recommendations that the WHO makes,” he said.