Organizers report COPCOV is the largest multinational, interventional clinical trial looking into the investigational drug hydroxychloroquine. Enrollment has begun at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, the first of 20 UK hospitals that will take part in the trial.
To date, more than 130 UK frontline healthcare workers have died due to COVID-19 infection. The study is designed to test whether or not the drug can prove effective in guarding healthcare workers against the virus, so that they can continue their work.
Anthony Grosso, vice president and head of scientific affairs for Accord Europe and MENA, said the company is eager to explore one possible way to guard essential medical workers against COVID-19.
“Based on the known pharmacology of hydroxychloroquine, coupled with the emerging knowledge surrounding SARS-CoV-2 viral replication and COVID-19 pathophysiology, we were very keen to test the effectiveness of this molecule in a preventative, rather than late-stage treatment setting. A large-scale, prospective, randomised, double-blind clinical trial in a high-risk setting is the only way to robustly determine if this medicine can lessen or prevent human infection,” he said.
Grosso added that while previous studies may not have adequately tested the hypothesis, the results of the COPCOV trial are “of critical importance to public health.”
Martin Llewelyn, professor at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and lead COPCOV UK investigator, said “the race is on” to discover effective preventative treatments for the virus.
“Even though lockdown measures appear to have significantly reduced the current rate of infection in the UK, healthcare workers will continue to be at risk of contracting COVID-19, especially as measures are relaxed,” he said. “The results from COPCOV are expected later this year and, if they show that hydroxychloroquine can reduce the chances of catching COVID-19, this would be incredibly reassuring for myself and my frontline colleagues.”