Barwon Health in COVID drug trial
BARWON Health has joined a nationwide clinical trial to test a drug that could help protect high-risk healthcare staff from COVID-19
The four-month preventive COVID SHIELD trial invites doctors, nurses and allied healthcare workers from emergency departments, intensive care units, COVID-19 hospital wards and respiratory clinics to take low doses of hydroxychloroquine.
There are 16 Australian sites enrolling up to 2250 test subjects for the trial, led by the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne.
Barwon Health infectious diseases specialist Daniel O’Brien said there was experimental evidence showing the drug could kill the virus, which had motivated the research to test whether it was an effective prevention.
“This hasn’t been trialled anywhere in this particular manner, so we are among the first to try it,” Dr O’Brien said.
“The low dose of hydroxychloroquine is the same as what has been used in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis for years, so we know it is safe to use this way.
“We’ve had at least 25 people interested in enrolling so far, with work under way to open up the criteria to more healthcare works including paramedics and dentists to achieve more comprehensive results.
“An added benefit is that about 80 per cent of healthcare workers pick up the infection in the community and not at work, thus they may get added protection outside of work when they aren’t wearing PPE and could be exposed to the virus.”
Barwon Health staff will be among the first to take part in a hydroxychloroquine trial.