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Today (May 21) sees the first UK frontline NHS worker enrolled as a participant into COPCOV, the largest multi-national interventional clinical study into the prevention of COVID-19 using the investigational medicine, hydroxychloroquine. The study, which begins at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, will test if hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine can be used to effectively protect frontline medical staff. Accord Healthcare, a UK-based medicines manufacturer, has donated over two million tablets to enable the trial to go ahead.
“Even though lock-down measures appear to have significantly reduced the current rate of infection in the UK, healthcare workers will continue to be at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially as measures are relaxed. Whilst we wait for an effective and widely available vaccine, the race is on to find a well-tolerated preventative treatment. The results from COPCOV are expected later this year and, if they show that hydroxychloroquine can reduce the chances of catching COVID-19, this would be incredibly reassuring for myself and my frontline colleagues,” said Professor Martin Llewelyn, Brighton and Sussex Medical School and lead COPCOV UK Investigator.
Dr. Anthony Grosso, Vice President & Head of Scientific Affairs, Accord Europe & MENA, commented: “Based on the known pharmacology of hydroxychloroquine, coupled with the emerging knowledge surrounding SARS-CoV-2 viral replication and COVID-19 pathophysiology, we were very keen to test the effectiveness of this molecule in a preventative, rather than late-stage treatment setting. A large-scale, prospective, randomized, double-blind clinical trial in a high-risk setting is the only way to robustly determine if this medicine can lessen or prevent human infection. Previous studies have not adequately tested this hypothesis; the results of COPCOV are therefore of critical importance to public health.”