UK regulators have approved the resumption of a global trial aimed at determining whether hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in healthcare settings, according to Reuters.
The trial, known as COPCOV, was paused after another British study found the drugs to be ineffective in treating the virus, however the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now allowed the research to resume following positive COPCOV trial results.
"Participants will take the study drugs each day for a period of three months, and will be followed closely to see how well the drug is tolerated, whether they contract the virus, and if they do, whether they develop mild or more severe COVID-19," according to Tropical Health Network.
According to Reuters, COPCOV is a "randomised, placebo-controlled trial that is aiming to enrol 40,000 healthcare workers and other at-risk staff around the world," conducted by Oxford University's Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU).
The study is funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Unsurprisingly, their website makes no mention of the inclusion of zinc - largely credited by pro-HCQ physicians as the key ingredient to the treatment.
U.S. President Donald Trump said in March hydroxychloroquine could be a game-changer and then said he was taking it himself, even after the U.S. regulator, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), advised that its efficacy and safety were unproven.
The FDA later revoked emergency use authorisation for the drugs to treat COVID-19, after trials showed they were of no benefit as treatments.
But Oxford University’s Professor Nicholas White, who is co-leading the COPCOV trial, said studies of the drugs as a potential preventative medicine had not yet given a conclusive answer. -Reuters
"Hydroxychloroquine could still prevent infections, and this needs to be determined in a randomised controlled trial," said Oxford's White, adding "The question whether (it) can prevent COVID-19 or not remains as pertinent as ever."