United News of India
Washington, Apr 9: Volunteers infected with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have begun testing the effectiveness of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment in a major clinical trial that hopes to enroll 500 patients, the National Institutes of Health announced in a press release on Thursday.
“The first participants have enrolled in the trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, one of dozens of centers in the PETAL Network. The blinded, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial aims to enroll more than 500 adults who are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 or in an emergency department with anticipated hospitalization. All participants in the study will continue to receive clinical care as indicated for their condition. Those randomized to the experimental intervention will also receive hydroxychloroquine,” the release said.
“Blinded, placebo-controlled randomized” describes the gold standard of clinical trials, in which patients are randomly chosen to either receive the drug, in this case hydroxychloroquine, or a placebo. The trial then proceeds without doctors and healthcare workers running the trial knowing which patients are taking the drug and which patients are not.
In limited studies, the drug has demonstrated antiviral activity, an ability to modify the activity of the immune system, and has an established safety profile at appropriate doses, leading to the hypothesis that it may also be useful in the treatment of COVID-19, the release said.
Hydroxychloroquine has been publicly advocated by US President Donald Trump and numerous doctors throughout the world, including in the United States, who have safely and effectively prescribed the drug for malaria, lupus as well as COVID-19. China has conducted a randomized study for the drug and concluded it was effective in treating COVID-19.
However, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, has cautioned that evidence of the drugs’ effectiveness is largely anecdotal and urged completion of a large clinical trial like the one announced on Thursday.
NIH has previously launched a trial of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Both trials will provide data on the effectiveness and safety of each agent, according to the release.
United News of India