Written bySiddhant Pandey ·
Over 40,000 healthcare workers from Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America will participate in the 'COPCOV' trial, which is being led by the University of Oxford.
Notably, United States President Donald Trump claimed he has been taking the drug.
As part of the trial, 40,000 healthcare workers from four continents will be given chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, or a placebo.
The first UK participants are being enrolled at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
They will be given hydroxychloroquine or a placebo for three months, while participants in Asia will be given chloroquine or a placebo.
The participants of the trial would have to be healthcare workers who are in contact with COVID-19 patients, provided they have not been diagnosed with the disease themselves.
The aim of the study is to see whether the anti-malaria drugs can help prevent the disease in uninfected persons.
The results of the UK trial are expected by the end of this year.
Oxford University Professor Nicholas White, one of the study's leaders, said, "We really do not know if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are beneficial or harmful against COVID-19." White said a randomized controlled trial such as this one may be the best way to find out.
Prof Martin Llewelyn from Brighton and Sussex Medical School—who is also leading the study—said, "A widely available, safe and effective vaccine may be a long way off."
Llewelyn added, "If drugs as well-tolerated as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could reduce the chances of catching COVID-19, this would be incredibly valuable." The drugs are used to prevent and treat malaria and can reduce fever and inflammation.
Hydroxychloroquine has become quite popular since US President Trump called it a "game-changer" in the fight against COVID-19. Notably, studies have been inconclusive over the drug's efficacy against the disease and some even suggest it may worsen a patient's condition.
Recently, Trump said he has been taking the drug. He has said his regimen will end in a "day or two."
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