The Context Conundrum

Pfizer announced yesterday that it has begun an early stage clinical trial of an oral antiviral to fight COVID-19, The Hill reports.
This is good news—but the findings of US-based trials won’t necessarily be applicable in low- and middle-income countries, Devex reports. LMICs could wait years for vaccines so good therapeutics research is all the more important.

Yet COVID-19 treatment trials are often done in the West. The only truly global COVID-19 treatment trial was recently paused by WHO after candidates showed no benefit.
Merely embracing trial results from other countries doesn’t suffice: Africa, for example, “displays the greatest genetic diversity among all the continents, and treatments developed elsewhere may not be as efficacious when applied here,” says Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative’s Borna Nyaoke.

DNDi is now coordinating COVID-19 treatment trials across 13 African countries.

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