In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s claim that he has been using hydroxychloroquine to prevent Covid19 for himself, Healthcare workers in Britain and Thailand have started taking part in a trial to determine whether two anti-malarial drugs can prevent COVID19, including hydroxychloroquine.
The study is said to involve more than 40,000 healthcare workers across Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, and seeks to determine whether chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could play a role in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
The lead investigators in Thailand and Britain said their ‘COPCOV’ trial, in the works for several months, would cut through the heated controversies caused by President Trump’s assertions on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating or staving off the Coronavirus.
Demand for hydroxychloroquine increased dramatically after Trump continuously advertised it in early April. He said this week he was now taking it as a preventive medicine against the virus despite medical warnings about its use.
“We still do not know whether anything is beneficial in COVID-19,” the University of Oxford’s Professor Nicholas White, the study’s co-principal investigator, told Reuters.
“The only way we can find out if things are beneficial overall is to do large, well-conducted clinical trials,” said White, who is based at the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) in Bangkok. “These are extremely well-established drugs.”
The COPCOV team said there is no conclusive proof that antimalarial drugs might prevent COVID19, even though there could be a slight potential. Medics who have tested positive will not be able to take part.