The WHO, based in Geneva, is leading a global initiative to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and drugs to prevent, diagnose , and treat. According to a Reuters tally, the respiratory illness has infected 4.19 million people worldwide.
"We have some treatments that seem to be in very early studies that limit the severity or duration of the disease but we have nothing that can kill or stop the virus," spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a briefing, referring to the body's so-called Solidarity Trial of Drugs Against the Disease.
"We have potentially positive data coming out but we need to see more data to be 100 per cent confident we can say this treatment over that one," she added, saying more research was needed and planned.
Harris did not name the therapies. Gilead Science Inc. says its antiviral drug remdesivir has helped patients with COVID-19 improve their outcomes.
Clinical data about remdesivir released last month raised hopes it could be an effective treatment. Several studies examining antiviral drug combinations have also suggested that they might help patients fight off the virus.
Results of a Hong Kong trial released this month showed a triple antiviral drug combination helped relieve symptoms in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infection and quickly reduced the amount of virus in their bodies.
The trial, involving 127 patients, compared those given the combination drug, which consisted of the HIV medicine lopinavir-ritonavir, the hepatitis drug ribavirin and the multiple sclerosis treatment interferon beta, with only the HIV drug administered by a control group.
U.S.- championed malaria treatment President Donald Trump again failed to show a benefit in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as a "game changer" in combating coronavirus, a study found this month.
While the study had some limitations, doctors reported that the use of hydroxycholoquine did not reduce the need for breathing assistance patients or the risk of death.
See a graphic of some of the developing drugs, vaccines and other therapies around the world
In Geneva, the official of the WHO sounded a note of caution about expectations for a vaccine, saying that coronaviruses are "very tricky viruses" in general that are "difficult to produce vaccines."
It is developing more than 100 potential COVID-19 vaccines, including several in clinical trials. In April, the WHO said it would take at least 12 months to get a vaccine.
Harris said the Americas were the pandemic's current "centre," though she also noted rising cases in Africa. She said however, the continent had a "big advantage" over other countries with little experience of outbreaks of infectious disease.
"They often have a very good infrastructure for tracking contacts and a deep, deep memory and understanding of why we take a new pathogen very, very seriously," she said, emphasizing South Africa for its effective testing and contact tracing.
Asked about the reasons for high case loads in the U.S. and Brazil, Harris said: "We have seen around the world that the warnings we put out right from the beginning, very, very early on, were not seen as warnings about a very serious, lethal disease."
She reaffirmed that the WHO, which has been criticized by the United States in particular for its handling of the pandemic, would conduct a "after-action" review that would include a "free and frank" discussion on its performance.
US. President Donald Trump is working to reopen the economy quickly against health expert recommendations to move cautiously to avoid a resurgence of the virus that has killed more than 80,000 people in the United States, the world's highest death toll. He said he did act early to prevent the disease from spreading.
Brazil has recorded a total of 168,331 confirmed virus cases and 11,519 deaths, the most mortal outbreak in an emerging market nation.
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