Mar 26, 2020

Clinical trials may begin next week in New York for coronavirus treatments: Health official

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Officials are working out final details in plans to begin clinical trials next week for a malaria drug combination that appears to hold some promise for confronting the coronavirus pandemic.

New York state Health Department officials are making arrangements to determine what patients at which hospitals will be allowed to participate in trials with hydroxychloroquine, Zithromax and chloroquine, a senior official at the department with knowledge of the plan told ABC News. The bulk of the patients are expected to be in the New York City metro area because the region has the biggest cluster of cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this week that he was eager to get the trials started. By Tuesday, the drugs were in New York and officials were working to identify who could participate.

The medications, originally developed to fight malaria, have raised hope among many that they could aid in treating coronavirus. The core of the medical therapy is chloroquine, closely related to hydroxychloroquine, which has been used to treat malaria since 1944. It can be given before exposure to malaria to prevent infection, and it can also be given as treatment afterward. It’s also currently used to treat autoimmune diseases like lupus. Doctors are adding the antibiotic Zithromax to the cocktail.

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