Clinical trial to treat COVID-19 begin including Hydroxychloroquine and Remdesivir

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Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.NIAID

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WLNS) – A clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 has begun.

The first participants in the trial are from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

COVID-19 is usually a respiratory infection, but it can damage multiple organ systems including the heart and lungs.

“Effective therapies for COVID-19 are urgently needed,” said James P. Kiley, director, Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. “Hydroxychloroquine has showed promise in a lab setting against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 and preliminary reports suggest potential efficacy in small studies with patients. However, we really need clinical trial data to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is effective and safe in treating COVID-19.”

Currently, no therapies have been demonstrated to prevent the progression of COVID-19 to severe illness, but several medicines available in the United States have been proposed as potential therapies.

“Many U.S. hospitals are currently using hydroxychloroquine as first-line therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 despite extremely limited clinical data supporting its effectiveness,” said Wesley Self, M.D., M.P.H., emergency medicine physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and PETAL Clinical Trials Network investigator leading the ORCHID trial. “Thus, data on hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19 are urgently needed to inform clinical practice.”

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions such as arthritis. The drug has shown antiviral properties which modify the immune system which leads researchers to believe it may also be a useful treatment of COVID-19.

The drug does have risks even in the short-term such as causing cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, and hypoglycemia.

The National Institutes of Health also recently launched a trial to study Remdesivir as a possible treatment for COVID-19.These two trials will provide data on the effectiveness and safety of each agent versus placebo in the urgent race to find effective therapies for treating COVID-19.

For more information about the study, visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search for NCT04332991.

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