WINNIPEG — Researchers at the University of Manitoba have started the first clinical trial in the province to see if a malaria drug can prevent people from contracting COVID-19 (coronavirus).
The university announced the measures Wednesday and say volunteers are being recruited to participate in the study.
“This trial is important because it will be the first COVID-19 clinical trial open in Manitoba and it is squarely focused on flattening the curve,” said Dr. Ryan Zarychanski, associate professor, department of internal medicine, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba and department of medical oncology and hematology.
“Preliminary studies have strongly suggested that hydroxychloroquine can reduce the ability of the virus to replicate.”
Zarychanski added it’s not known if it has the same effect in humans, but it’s the team’s goal to find out.
The clinical trial is taking place in Manitoba, Quebec, Alberta and the United States, but U of M researchers hope to have as many Manitobans enrolled as fast as possible.
Due to the contagious nature of the disease, the drugs are being shipped by Purolator Canada to each participant the day after they are determined eligible and are enrolled in the trial.
Who can participate?
People are eligible for the clinical trial if they have a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, their symptoms began in the past four days and they are self-isolating at home. People are also eligible if they live with a person with COVID-19, the exposure occurred within the past four days and they have no symptoms. Health care workers are eligible if they have had a moderate to high-risk contact with a patient known to have COVID-19 and the contact occurred within the past four days.