Equipping hospitals with vital supplies is key to conquering COVID-19. Many countries, however, are still struggling to provide vital supplies to patients in intensive care units. Among these supplies, oxygen is especially critical for treating COVID-19, but in many countries , access to supply has been a struggle during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Oxygen Needs Tracker highlights the severity of the shortages in many low- and middle-income countries, with countries in Latin America,Africa and Asia showing the highest demand. To meet the growing demand, WHO and partners have distributed vital supplies and support to 121 countries, including 37 countries that are classified as “fragile”.
Researching treatments for COVID-19, as well as drugs that can be repurposed, is another essential tactic in beating the virus. WHO leads the global evaluation and assessment of all proposed therapeutics, including the Solidarity Therapeutics Trial – a worldwide, collaborative international clinical trial to find an effective treatment for COVID-19. Launched in 2020, this was one of the largest international randomized trials for COVID-19 treatments, enrolling almost 12,000 patients in 500 hospital sites in over 30 countries. In just six months, it has generated conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of repurposed drugs for the treatment of COVID-19. WHO conducts these assessments to determine the safety, effectiveness and accessibility of therapeutics, and develops guidelines on their use. Partners depend on this quality assessment to decide whether to procure therapeutics, and to understand the guidelines on their use.