British healthcare workers are taking part in a global clinical trial to test the effectiveness of anti-malarial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus.

About 40,000 frontline workers and staff from Europe, Africa, Asia and South America who have close contact with Covid-19 patients will take part in the study to test if the drugs are effective in preventing the virus.

“Laboratory evidence shows that these well-established drugs might be effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 but there is no conclusive proof,” the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU) said Thursday in a statement.

“Covid-19 is a major risk for frontline healthcare workers around the world,” COPCOV Co-Principal Investigator Professor Nicholas White, of the University of Oxford who is based at MORU, said in the statement.
“We really do not know if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are beneficial or harmful against Covid-19. The best way to find out if they are effective in preventing Covid-19 is in a randomised clinical trial. That’s what COPCOV is – and why we’re doing this study,” Professor White said.

The first UK participants will begin enrolling in the trial Wednesday in three hospitals outside London. Participants will receive either chloroquine or a placebo (in Asia) or hydroxychloroquine or a placebo (in UK, Europe, Africa) for three months.

Results are expected by the end of 2020, the statement adds.

US President Donald Trump made headlines on Monday after he told reporters he was taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine. At least one study has shown the drug does not work against Covid-19 and could cause heart problems.

Source: CNN News

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