While the coming days in the nation's coronavirus fight look bleak, President Donald Trump gave Americans some reason to hope. "There's tremendous light at the end of the tunnel," he said at a White House press briefing Monday.
"Currently, ten different therapeutic agents are in active trials and some are looking incredibly successful," he said. "But they have to go through a process and it's going to be a quick process based on what the FDA told me." He said another 15 potential treatments are working toward clinical trials, "so they're advancing rapidly."
Trump echoed comments made earlier Monday by World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said the research to develop vaccines and treatments to fight the coronavirus has "accelerated at incredible speed."
Tedros said more than 70 countries have joined WHO's trial to accelerate research on effective treatments and "about 20 institutions and companies are racing to develop a vaccine."
"The viral genome was mapped in early January and shared globally which enabled tests to be developed and vaccine research to start," Tedros said at a news conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva.
White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that the first human trial testing a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is "on track" with public distribution still projected in 12 to 18 months, which would be the "ultimate game changer" in the fight against the pandemic.
New York state last month began the first large-scale clinical trial looking at hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment for the coronavirus after the Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the approval process.
Chloroquine has gained a lot of attention after a small study of 36 COVID-19 patients published March 17 in France found that most patients taking the drug cleared the coronavirus from their system a lot faster than the control group. Adding azithromycin, commonly known as a Z-Pak, to the mix "was significantly more efficient for virus elimination," the researchers said. A small study in China also found that combining chloroquine with azithromycin was "found to be more potent than chloroquine."
"Stay inside and let's win this and let's get our country as soon as we can. I think it's going to be sooner than people think. Things are going really well," Trump said.