A province-wide trial is looking into a potential early treatment option for COVID-19.
The study called ‘Alberta Hope’ is investigating hydroxychloroquine to determine whether it can prevent hospitalization for people at the highest risk of developing severe symptoms.
The trial will recruit 1,600 people and give them a five-day treatment with the medication.
“As we’ve learned from other countries, hospital systems can become overwhelmed by those infected with the virus who need critical care,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health, in a release.
“Our goal is to reduce the risk of severe disease experienced by individuals and reduce the burden on the health-care system by helping people recover from the effects of the virus at home.”
HCQ was originally an anti-malarial drug and is currently being used for immunological disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
“We will be targeting Albertans who are at risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19. Those include people over 18, living independently, who have an underlying medical condition which has proven to contribute to the worsening of symptoms, and eventual hospitalization,” said Dr. Luanne Metz, Study Lead.
The trial is being led by researchers at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta.
The provincial government and Alberta Health Services are supporting the study. This includes a $286,000 grant from the GoA.