A global trial designed to test whether the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infection needs to restart after being approved by the UK authorities.
The Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) made its decision on what is known as the COPCOV trial after hydroxychloroquine was found in another UK trial as having no benefit as as treatment for patients already infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
The COPCOV study was suspended pending review after the results of the treatment trial.
This is a randomized, placebo-controlled trial that aims to recruit 40,000 healthcare workers and other at-risk personnel worldwide, and is led by the University’s Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) from Oxford to the Thai capital, Bangkok.
US President Donald Trump said in March that hydroxychloroquine could be a game-changer, and then said he was taking it himself, even after the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said its effectiveness and safety were not proven.
The FDA subsequently revoked the approval for emergency use of the drugs to treat COVID-19, after trials showed they were of no benefit as treatments.
But White, who co-directs the COPCOV trial, said studies on the drugs as a potential preventative have not yet given a conclusive answer.
“Hydroxychloroquine could still prevent infections, and this needs to be determined in a randomized controlled trial,” he said in a statement. “The question of whether (she) can prevent COVID-19 or not remains as relevant as ever.”
White’s team said recruitment of British health workers will resume this week and plans are underway for new sites in Thailand and Southeast Asia, Africa and South America. The results are expected by the end of this year.
(Report by Kate Kelland, edited by Paul Sandle and Timothy Heritage)
(This story has not been edited by GalacticGaming staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)