Hydroxychloroquine Testing Begins to Help Combat COVID-19


Rocco Santini, Reporter Emeritus

    Testing of an anti-malarial drug to see if it can help cure COVID has begun in Brighton and Oxford. The test is being carried out on healthcare workers in South America, Asia and Africa. 

    Hydroxychloroquine, which is an anti-malarial drug, is being put in some 40,000 healthcare workers all of which have been exposed to COVID-19 patients.

   It has been said that President Trump has been taking the pill despite the uncertainty behind the drug’s effects on combating COVID. 

   On Thursday May 20th the first UK participants are being enrolled in the global trial. The results of this case will determine whether further testing is needed before mass production and distribution of the drug are allowed.

   The process will be a blind test for the patients enrolled, half of the participants will get a placebo and the other half will get the drug of interest. The earliest we will have the results of the test is early next year 

     Prof Nicholas White from the University of Oxford said, “We really do not know if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are beneficial or harmful against Covid-19.”

    Prof Martin Llewelyn from Brighton spoke on the topic and this is what he had to say, “A widely available, safe and effective vaccine may be a long way off, If drugs as well-tolerated as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could reduce the chances of catching Covid-19, this would be incredibly valuable.” 

     The effects of the drug have shown to decrease inflammation and fever in subjects. This drug was used to prevent the spread of an earlier virus known as Malaria. Hydroxychloroquine regulates the body’s immune system and is also used in the treatment of Lupus – an inflammatory disease caused by a severely overactive immune system that causes massive amounts of swelling in the face.

   People with Lupus in the UK have rising concerns about the availability of hydroxychloroquine if it proves to be a valid cure to the virus. This could be a serious problem if distributors aren’t careful as to where the shipments of the drug go to so they can make sure the people who need them most can obtain what they need.