The World Health Organization (WHO) is launching global clinical trials to test possible new coronavirus therapies that will span across 10 participating countries.

The treatments to be tested are drugs already being used for other illnesses like HIV, ebola and malaria.

The kick-start of the massive effort to test four drugs already on the market, or combinations of those drugs, comes as more than 222,000 people worldwide have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 9,000 have died, according to the latest count from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. 

Called the SOLIDARITY trial, participating countries currently include Argentina, Canada, France, Bahrain, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand, said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the general-director of the WHO at a March 18 press conference.

The trials will determine whether these treatments can lower mortality rates or reduce negative outcomes like requiring intensive care units — which could free up hospital space for more severe cases. 

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