Tags: Coronavirus | hydroxychloroquine | coronavirus | trials | pandemic

Trials to Study Hydroxychloroquine for Health Workers

the anti-malarial drug made of hydroxychloroquine  is displayed
A pharmacist shows a box of antimalarial tablets called "Plaquenil", on March 23, 2020.  (Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 April 2020 07:12 PM

Doctors and nurses in Africa, Asia, and Europe could soon be taking part in trials of the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to determine if the drugs can be taken to protect people against coronavirus infection. 

"In fragile health care systems, if you start knocking out a few nurses and doctors, the whole thing can collapse," according to malaria researcher Nicholas White, reports Science magazine. "We realized that the priority would be to protect them. 

White, who is based at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok, and his colleagues have devised a trial in which 40,000 doctors and nurses in Asia, Africa, and Europe would be given either of the two drugs prophylactically.

White said he wants the trial to start this month, but "bureaucratic processes" have made the launch "incredibly difficult."

Several other studies are either in preparation or underway that seek to use medications for pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is already used in the fight against HIV. 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is also financing a huge study to test the two drugs in Africa, North America, and Europe, and separate studies are planned for the United States, Australia, Canada, Spain, and Mexico.

Researchers are also looking into tests on further potential preventives, including nitazoxanide, which is used to treat parasitic infections, and antibody serums from people who have recovered from coronavirus. 

Virologist Matthew Frieman of the University of Maryland  School of Medicine said such tests could settle the debate about whether the two malaria drugs can be used to treat coronavirus. 

The studies done so far were on seriously ill patients, but to show an effect,  "you really have to treat early," said Frieman. "I don't know any drug that works better late in infection.” 

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Doctors and nurses in Africa, Asia, and Europe could soon be taking part in trials of the antimalarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to determine if the drugs can be taken to protect people against coronavirus infection....
hydroxychloroquine, coronavirus, trials, pandemic
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2020-12-07
Tuesday, 07 April 2020 07:12 PM
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