Britain begins hydroxychloroquine trial to test coronavirus prevention

WION Web Team London, London, UK (Great Britain) May 21, 2020, 07.11 PM(IST)

Anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Over 130 UK frontline healthcare workers have lost their lives from COVID-19 and the new study will test if hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine can be used to effectively protect these frontline medical staff, allowing them to undertake their vital roles more safely.

The first UK frontline National Health Service (NHS) worker will participate in COPCOV -- multinational interventional clinical study into the prevention of the coronavirus infection using the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine.

Over 130 UK frontline healthcare workers have lost their lives from COVID-19 and the new study will test if hydroxychloroquine/chloroquine can be used to effectively protect these frontline medical staff, allowing them to undertake their vital roles more safely.

Under the multinational plan, the investigational medicine will be given to more than 40,000 healthcare workers from the UK and Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. It will test whether the drugs can prevent healthcare workers exposed to the virus from contracting it.

Accord Healthcare, a UK-based medicines manufacturer, said it has donated over 2 million tablets to enable the "landmark trial" to go ahead.

This comes amid criticism of US President Donald Trump who admitted to using the drug as a preventive medicine despite it being unproven to be effective against the deadly virus and despite warnings that it may be unsafe.