Health workers in the UK will begin taking part in an international trial of two anti-malaria drugs led by Oxford University to see if they can prevent COVID-19, including one US President Donald Trump said he had taken it.
The “COPCOV” study, which began on Thursday, will involve more than 40,000 frontline health workers from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America to determine whether chloroquine and chloroquine hydroxy are effective in preventing new coronaviruses.
The drugs have become famous since Trump said earlier this week that he used hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug against the virus, despite medical warnings about its use.
The trial, led by the University of Oxford with the support of the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok, will be open to British participants at hospital locations in Brighton and Oxford and involve those who are closely related to proven patients. or suspected COVID-19.
“We really don’t know whether chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine is beneficial or harmful to COVID-19,” said Professor Nicholas White of the University of Oxford, co-principal investigator of the MORU-based study.
“The best way to find out if they are effective in preventing COVID-19 is in randomized clinical trials.”
In Britain, Europe and Africa, participants will receive hydroxychloroquine or placebo for three months. In Asia and Latin America, they will receive chloroquine or placebo.
A total of 25 research sites are expected to be opened in the UK by the end of June, MORU said, with plans for further locations in Thailand and Southeast Asia, Italy, Portugal, Africa and Latin America. The results are expected by the end of this year.
“We look at this very carefully and examine all the evidence that is there,” British security minister James Brokenshire told Sky News.
Reuters news agency
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