South Africa is among a group of countries that have committed to being part of a series of smaller vaccine trials testing different methods and treatments to combat COVID-19, as the first US-led trials begin.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the development of a vaccine could take many months, but other treatments may be developed much quicker.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the multinational series of smaller trials of treatments is designed to generate the data needed to show which are the most effective

He adds that this will be called the Solidarity Trial and he is certain more countries will join the initiative.

WHO is organising the study in which some of those untested treatments are compared with each other.

Other countries that have already confirmed that they will join the Solidarity Trial are Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand.

South Africa currently has 116 confirmed infections.