Coronavirus: Clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 treatment begins in the US

First participants have enrolled in the trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The National Institute of Health (NIH) on Thursday announced it has begun enrolling participants in a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, for treating COVID-19.

According to a report in The Hill, the first participants have enrolled in the trial at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to this drug in his briefings.

The Hill report stated that ‘participants will be randomly assigned to receive 400 mg of hydroxychloroquine twice daily for two doses (day one), then 200 mg twice daily for the subsequent eight doses (days two through five) or a placebo twice daily for five days.

On Wednesday, the US President thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over India’s decision on the export of hydroxychloroquine, in the wake of global coronavirus pandemic.

“Our national stockpile is now equipped with nearly 30 million hydroxychloroquine pills. I want to thank Prime Minister Modi of India for allowing us to have what we requested before the problem arose. He was terrific. We will remember it,” the US President had said, addressing a press briefing.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorisation, allowing health care providers to use the medicine for illness.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States has exceeded 450,000 with 16,267 deaths due to the disease, according to data published by Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.