Foreign Desk Report
GENEVA: The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Saturday, with the total rising by 212,326 in 24 hours.
The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil and India, according to a daily report here The previous WHO record for new cases was 189,077 on June 28. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.
Global coronavirus cases exceeded 11 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than half a million people in seven months.
The World Health Organization recorded the largest single-day increase of global coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic on Saturday.
Member states reported more than 212,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 to the global body with most cases coming from the Americas, including the United States and Brazil.
The US has recently been reporting record rises in daily case numbers, with around 2.8 million cases total or roughly a quarter of the world’s total cases. Brazil meanwhile has around 1.5 million cases. Public health officials have urged Americans to avoid large crowds this weekend amid the country’s Fourth of July holiday.
Latin America and the Caribbean also passed Europe in their number of coronavirus cases – with more than 2.7 million infections.
Latin America and the Caribbean surpass Europe’s number of coronavirus cases
Meanwhile, the WHO announced that they would end a trial testing hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus.
The antimalarial drug is typically used to treat illnesses such as Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
It had been hyped worldwide as a COVID-19 treatment when French doctor Didier Raoult said he was treating patients in Marseille with the drug and an antibiotic. A study he published was however dismissed due to its small size and lack of control group.
In mid-June, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency retracted emergency permission to use hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus, saying it is unlikely to be effective.
The World Health Organization also will end trial of lopinavir/ritonavir, a drug combination used to treat HIV/AIDS.
WHO says a review of the interim results showed hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir “produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it was discontinuing its trials of the hydroxychloroquine and combination HIV drug lopinavir/ritonavir in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 after the medicines failed to reduce mortality.
The setback came as the WHO also reported more than 200,000 new cases globally of the disease for the first time in a single day. The United States accounted for 53,213 of the total 212,326 new cases recorded on Friday, the WHO said.
“These interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalised COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care.
Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the WHO said in a statement, referring to large multicounty trials that the agency is leading.
The UN agency said the decision, taken on the recommendation of the trial’s international steering committee, does not affect other studies where those drugs are used for non-hospitalised patients or as a prophylaxis.
Another branch of the WHO-led trial is looking at the potential effect of Gilead’s antiviral drug remdesivir on COVID-19. The European Commission on Friday gave remdesivir conditional approval for use after being shown to shorten hospital recovery times.
The solidarity trial started out with five branches looking at possible treatment approaches to COVID-19: standard care; remdesivir; hydroxychloroquine; lopinavir/ritonavir; and lopanivir/ritonavir combined with interferon.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Friday that nearly 5,500 patients in 39 countries had been recruited so far into its clinical trials and that interim results were expected within two weeks.
Some 18 experimental COVID-19 vaccines are being tested on humans among nearly 150 treatments under development.
Mike Ryan, WHO’s top emergencies expert, said on Friday that it would be unwise to predict when a vaccine could be ready. While a vaccine candidate might show its effectiveness by year’s end, the question was how soon it could then be mass-produced, he said.