Henry Ford Health to conduct study to see if anti-malaria drug can prevent COVID-19

First responder volunteers in SE Michigan wanted
New York-based Compounding Pharmacist Counters the Coronavirus With Specialized Formulation
Posted at 3:07 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 06:05:06-04

(WXYZ) — Henry Ford Health System is looking for volunteers to take part in a study looking to assess the preventative capabilities of hydroxychloroquine, the medicine that’s being used to treat patients with COVID after they get it with azithromycin.

According to the City of Detroit, officials are trying to see if the medicine can be used as a prevention against COVID-19. Because first responders come into contact with COVID-19 patients, they are hoping they can analyze the results.

The study plans to assess three thousand people. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said officials are looking for first responders and healthcare workers to volunteer in the study.

The study is meant to span eight weeks, Duggan said.

Once volunteers provide a blood sample, they will receive vials with unidentified, specific pills to take over the next eight weeks: a once-a-week dose of hydroxychloroquine, a once-a-day dose, or a placebo.

The medication for the study was specially procured for research purposes and will not impact the supply of medication for people who already take the medication for other conditions, researchers say.

Duggan said researchers are getting close to gaining approval from the FDA and will start enrolling volunteers soon.

"In Detroit, we don’t normally take things lying down, we fight back," he said.

Several hundred police officers and other first responders in Detroit are currently under quarantine and dozens more have confirmed COVID-19 patients.

Henry Ford Health System doctors are currently prescribing hydroxychloroquine as an off-label treatment for only sick, hospitalized patients with COVID-19. They must meet specific criteria outlined by the hospital system's Division of Infectious Diseases.

Physicians are documenting the prescribed use in the patient's electronic medical record.

Last weekend, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization to allow hydroxychloroquine sulfate and chloroquine phosphate products. The drug is used to prevent or treat malaria, and is commonly used by patients with arthritis, lupus or other rheumatic conditions.

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