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WHO: Testing 3 drugs for use against coronavirus

The drugs were chosen by an independent panel based on the likelihood they could prevent deaths in people hospitalized for coronavirus.

GENEVA, Switzerland — The World Health Organization says it will soon test three drugs used for other diseases to see if they might help patients sickened by the coronavirus.

In a statement on Wednesday, the U.N. health agency says the three drugs would be adopted into the next phase of its ongoing global research into identifying potential treatments for COVID-19. The drugs were chosen by an independent panel based on the likelihood they could prevent deaths in people hospitalized for coronavirus.

They include artesunate, a malaria drug, the cancer drug imatinib, and infliximab, currently used in people with diseases of the immune system.

WHO’s ongoing study into COVID-19 treatments previously assessed four drugs. Among its findings, the agency determined that remdesivir and hydroxychloroquine didn’t help people hospitalized with the virus. WHO’s research includes thousands of researchers in hundreds of hospitals in 52 countries.

“Finding more effective and accessible therapeutics for COVID-19 patients remains a critical need,” says WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government said Wednesday that it will deliver nearly 837,000 Pfizer vaccines to Caribbean nations as the region with limited resources struggles with a spike in COVID-19 cases amid violent anti-vaccine protests.

The Bahamas will receive 397,000 doses followed by Trinidad and Tobago with more than 305,000 doses. Barbados will receive 70,200 doses, while 35,100 are slated for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 17,550 for Antigua and 11,700 for St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Caribbean region has reported more than 1.29 million cases and more than 16,000 deaths, with some 10.7 million people vaccinated so far, according to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency.