Trials on the controversial antimalarial drug taken by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, will resume to try to prevent the capture of the coronavirus.
UK regulators say hydroxychloroquine and a chloroquine-like drug can be administered to healthcare workers in a clinical study to test the theory.
Recruitment for the COPCOV trial was halted amid concerns about side effects raised by other research that has since been discredited.
This work analyzed the Covid-19 treatment.
He concluded that the drug was not beneficial and increased the risk of irregular heart rhythms and death. That publication prompted WHO to discontinue its malaria drug coronavirus treatment trials.
Concerns were raised about the data, and then some of the study authors said they could no longer bear its publication in The Lancet as the healthcare firm Surgisphere involved in the work would not allow an independent review.
The New England Journal of Medicine withdrew another article that had data from Surgisphere.
The cheap and widely available drug has been used safely to prevent malaria infection for years.
- What progress are we making in coronavirus treatments?
- What do we know about hydroxychloroquine?
Although studies suggest that hydroxychloroquine is not a lifesaver for people who are already sick with the coronavirus, the researchers want to continue exploring whether it could prevent infections.
The COPCOV trial will see chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, or a placebo administered to more than 40,000 healthcare workers in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America.
One of the principal investigators, Professor Sir Nicholas White of the University of Oxford said: “Hydroxychloroquine could still prevent infections, and this must be determined in a randomized controlled trial.”
Co-investigator Professor Martin Llewelyn of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School said: “Although coronavirus rates are low in the UK, healthcare workers are still affected across the NHS and are expect a second wave of infection this winter.
“In terms of finding an intervention that can protect key workers for this winter, hydroxychloroquine is by far the most realistic prospect. The recent post-exposure prophylaxis study confirmed its safety and indicated that it could be protective if administered as pre-exposure prophylaxis. ” This is what COPCOV will discover. “
Meanwhile, anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir have been found to provide no clinical benefit to hospitalized patients with coronavirus.
But the same RECOVERY trial recently found that a cheap steroid called dexamethasone may help save the lives of patients who are seriously ill with the virus.