Africa launches largest clinical trial with Covid-19 treatment

An ambitious African study to identify treatments that can be used to treat early mild and moderate cases of coronavirus patients has been launched.

The clinical trial, which is aimed at 13 African countries, also seeks to prevent spikes in hospitalization that could overwhelm fragile and already congested health systems in Africa. The continent has recorded about 2.1 million cases and more than 50,000 deaths.

According to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), an international research and development for non-profit medicine (R&D), the study will be conducted at 19 locations in 13 countries by the ANTICOV consortium that is part of the World Health Organization ( WGO). ) solidarity trial to find an effective treatment for Covid-19. The Solidarity trial is one of the largest international random trials. The clinical trial aims to identify a treatment or two treatments that can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of Covid-19, to prevent the disease from becoming more serious.

The study comes at a time when three multinational pharmaceutical companies Pfizer / BioNTech, Oxford / Astrazeneca and Moderna have announced promising results on the ongoing clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine. Compared to Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine that requires a storage temperature as low as -70 degrees Celsius, a logistical nightmare for many African countries, Astrazeneca’s AZD1222 vaccine can be stored, transported and handled under normal cooling conditions (2-8 degrees Celsius) for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare facilities. “

ANTICOV is an adaptive platform trial, an innovative type of clinical trial beginning with the development of cancer medicine, which allows multiple treatments to be tested simultaneously. Customizable platform trials enable quick decisions, including adding, continuing, or stopping treatment arms based on continuous analysis of results.

“Large clinical trials in Africa are needed for Covid-19 to answer research questions that are specific to an African context,” said Dr John Nkengasong, director of the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study will test the effectiveness of treatments in 2000 to 3000 mild to moderate patients in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan. , and Uganda, with the aim of identifying treatments that can prevent the progression of coronavirus to serious diseases and also limit transmission.

“African countries have so far had an impressive response to Covid-19, and now is the time to prepare for future waves of the disease. We welcome the ANTICOV trial led by African doctors, as it will help to answer one of our most pressing questions: “With limited intensive care facilities in Africa, can we treat people for Covid-19 earlier and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed?” Dr Nkengasong added.

ANTICOV will initially focus on drugs where large-scale randomized clinical trials may provide missing efficacy data in mild to moderate patients. The trial will begin with the testing of the HIV antiretroviral combination lopinavir / ritonavir against the control agent and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which is a standard of care in many African countries.

However, a study conducted earlier this month by a major U.S. research center found that Hydroxychloroquine did not benefit adults admitted to Covid-19 Hospital. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) study tried to test whether the remedy for malaria and arthritis works to treat coronavirus.

“It is gratifying to see that so many African countries are working together to find much-needed answers to our unique Covid-19 patient needs,” said Dr Borna Nyaoke-Anoke, a senior clinical project manager at DNDi, which also conducts clinical trials in the DRC , Kenya and Sudan.

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