Recently, two new clinical trials have begun by the researchers at the Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah Health in Salt Lake City in order to test two drugs that may potentially help with the treatment of coronavirus.
More specifically, the researchers are interested in seeing whether two existent and widely used medications known by the names of azithromycin and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has any impact on COVID-19 patients.
Previously, research on medicines for coronavirus showed how re-purposing drugs that are already recommended and used, such as the ones mentioned above, maybe a more cost-effective and feasible option for the current health pandemic.
In the new clinical trial, the researchers have announced the recruitment of at least two thousand and three hundred participants who have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are under observation due to being suspected of having the infection.
The critical care researcher at Intermountain Healthcare and leading author of studies related to examining drugs for coronavirus says “Results from these studies will help us to understand the value of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in treatment of COVID-19 as we seek ways to fight the virus effectively and reduce the human cost of this pandemic,”
Azithromycin, which is a common broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed to people experiencing pneumonia or other bacterial infections, and hydroxychloroquine, which is given to people with certain autoimmune conditions or malaria, have been the primary focus of studies on medications for COVID-19.
However, researchers are not sure whether the drugs will help with coronavirus. Therefore, the drugs cannot be yet prescribed to patients without proper investigation.
Additionally, it should also be noted that, like most medicines, the ones being examined for coronavirus treatment can also cause a number of side effects on the body.
For instance, the usage of hydroxychloroquine can cause complications in heart rhythm and may even increase the risk of other viral infections.
Secondly, prescribing the medication without scientific evidence may even cause problems for people who need it for other conditions. Health experts are worried that the heightened interest in drugs like hydroxychloroquine may affect their availability.
The infectious disease physician at University of Utah Health and an investigator in one of the two trials comments “Because COVID-19 is a new disease, we’re all starting from scratch,”
“The only way to answer the key question of ‘does this drug work?’ is to perform an unbiased clinical trial where we study its effects.”
In one out of the two trials, the participants with coronavirus will be given doses of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to see whether either of the drugs can help control the symptoms and decrease the severity of the infection.
On the other hand, the second trial will examine people who have COVID-19 and are being treated as outpatients to see whether either of the two aforementioned drugs can help in preventing hospitalization.
Both of the clinical trials set to test the drugs will also look at the possibility of lower shedding of the virus unto objects and different household items due to the medicines.
Currently, researchers from around the world are interested in looking at studies and trials based on testing different medicines for the treatment of coronavirus.
Usually, clinical trials take a significant period of time ranging from months to years to be set up and begin but the new ones took merely two weeks to be planned and arranged by researchers at Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah Health.
Not only will the trials help in finding whether the existent medicines can help treat COVID-19 but may also prevent any prescription of the drugs under pressure which may lead to unwanted side effects and worsen the pandemic.