Henry Ford Health begins enrollment in hydroxychloroquine study to combat COVID-19

Posted at 8:11 PM, Apr 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 20:51:47-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Henry Ford Health System has started enrollment in a study of the effectiveness of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in preventing the coronavirus (COVID-19). It's the first large-scale study of the drug in the United States.

“To produce relevant results, a study like this needs to be conducted in a geographic area with active COVID-19,” said Dr. Steven Kalkanis, CEO of the Henry Ford Medical Group and Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for Henry Ford Health System. “Unfortunately, we’re now a hot spot in the United States. But Detroit has always been the comeback city. Detroit turned car factories into tank factories and won World War II. Detroit stands for resilience. Detroit will lead the country in our war against COVID-19. Our hospital workers and first responders are heroes, reporting to duty every day in spite of COVID-19. And while this is only a study of an unproven medication – there are no proven cures or preventative treatments for COVID-19 – we owe it to them to look for ways to protect them.”

The "Will Hydroxychloroquine Impede or Prevent COVID-19" study, also known as "WHIP COVID-19," could provide insight to a solution on slowing the spread of COVID-19, as there's currently no FDA-approved preventions, vaccines or treatments for the virus.

According to hospital officials, the study will look at 3,000 subjects to evaluate whether the drug will prevent frontline workers from contracting COVID-19.

The study is volunteer based and is limited to health care workers and first responders in southeast Michigan. The FDA will provide the drug to Henry Ford Health System physicians to distribute for the study.

“Whether this medication works or not, having those results produced in a scientific manner moves us toward the goal of knowing how to protect our frontline workers,” said Dr. William W. O’Neill, a world-renowned interventional cardiologist and researcher who has pioneered multiple treatments for heart disease.

“Given our broad clinical trials and translational research infrastructure, we are grateful to bring this type of large-scale effort to the COVID-19 battle,” O'Neill added

Requirements to volunteer for the Whip COVID-19 study include:

· Badged employee of a southeast Michigan hospital system

· Badged City of Detroit first responders

· Badged bus drivers of the Detroit Department of Transportation

· Age between 18-75

· Not currently exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms

· Never previously diagnosed with COVID-19

· No significant heart or retinal disease

· No one who is pregnant or nursing

Preliminary results are expected in about four months. For more information on participating in the study click here.

As of Thursday, April 9, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Michigan is now at 1,076 while the number of cases is at 21,504, according to state.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Read our daily Coronavirus Live Blog for the latest updates and news on coronavirus.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.

See all of our Helping Each Other stories.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.