Trump’s Covid-19 Drug to Get More Scrutiny in 40,000-Person Test - (Bloomberg via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Hydroxychloroquine is getting another chance, as a global clinical trial will try to determine the treatment's effectiveness in preventing coronavirus infection, reported Bloomberg.

  • A trial led by Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit is now recruiting health workers in contact with COVID-19 patients to study whether hydroxychloroquine, as well as its sister drug chloroquine, can prevent the infection.

  • "This drug has been more intensely politicized than anything else I've ever heard of," commented Nicholas White, co-principal investigator of the study, adding "it became very polarizing and had a very, very damaging effect on the one thing we all want to find out, which is the truth."

  • Although a UK trial recently reported that hydroxychloroquine was not effective when used on hospitalized patients, the focus of that study and many others was on using the drug to treat COVID-19, not to prevent infections. White said he expects the drug to work best before exposure to the virus or just after.

  • The Mahidol Oxford-led study will involve a longer time frame and more people, testing 40,000 participants over several months. It plans to recruit people in Thailand, the UK and several study sites in Africa and South America.

  • White said the trial and recruitment of participants was paused after the now-retracted paper in The Lancet suggested hydroxychloroquine carried the risk of heart side effects and death. The Mahidol Oxford-led trial was cleared to go ahead again from the UK medicines agency after a five-week hiatus.

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