WHO virus study starts in Norway

Health Minister Bent Høie announced Friday afternoon that Norway is the first country to take part in a major international study that will test promising treatment methods for patients ill with the Corona virus. The study is being coordinated by the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO).

Katerina Nezvalová-Henriksen, a clinical pharmacist at the Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, with some of the malaria medicine that will be tested in the first phase of the study. PHOTO: OUS/Anders Bayer

Treatment of the study’s first patient will begin this weekend at the Oslo University Hospital Ullevål, Høie said at the government’s daily press conference on Friday. Another 22 hospitals around Norway will also join in, with all Corona patients over the age of 18 invited to take part.

John-Arne Røttingen, director of the research council Forskningsrådet, joined Høie at the press conference and said the study will involve tests of three drug treatments, with both malaria and ebola medicine involved. Røttingen will be in charge of the research methods used to evaluate treatments for Corona Covid-19 patients tested first at Ullevål and then at 22 hospitals around the country.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Norway’s role in the international study marks “great recognition” of Norwegian research and Norway’s public health services. She said Røttingen will also coordinate the research globally, and she praised the “good professional milieu that has managed to start doing this in such a short time.”

Medicine that can hinder or kill the new Corona virus can save the lives of seriously ill patients. The research also aims to determine whether it’s also possible to use various medicines to protect health care personnel and people in high-risk groups. It’s also hoped that successful medicinal treatment can reduce the amount of time patients currently need in hospitals’ intensive care wards, thus freeing up more beds for critically ill patients.

The WHO’s global is called “Solidarity” and will initially be led by medical staff at Ullevål in Oslo, Norway’s largest hospital. “There are many people all over the world who are trying to find treatments that work against this new illness,” Health Minister Høie said. “It’s important to carry out this research and be able to compare various treatments. That’s the only way we can obtain certain knowledge about what works and that it’s safe.

“I’m therefore really glad that the WHO has taken this initiative and that we’ll be part of it from the beginning.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

WHO virus study starts in Norway

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