by Morinville News Staff
The Government of Alberta announced Monday a provincewide clinical trial on the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). The Alberta Hope study will recruit 1,600 Albertans to determine if a prescribed five-day treatment of HCQ can prevent hospitalization for those at the highest risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19.
HCQ, originally an anti-malarial drug, is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis as well as some symptoms of lupus.
“As we’ve learned from other countries, hospital systems can become overwhelmed by those infected with the virus who need critical care,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro. “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.”
The University of Calgary and University of Alberta researchers are leading the clinical trial. Support for the test is coming from the Alberta government, Alberta Health Services and its Strategic Clinical Networks, Calgary Health Trust, Alberta Innovates and the University of Calgary/Alberta Health Services Clinical Research Fund. The Government of Alberta will contribute $286,000 to the consortium to fund the clinical trial.
The government says it will seek permission from those who test positive for COVID-19 to provide their contact information to Alberta Hope researchers and that all consenting participants will be screened for safety and eligibility.
“Clinical trials like this will give healthcare professionals more evidence to determine how best to care for patients,” said Dr. Kathryn Todd, vice-president of Provincial Clinical Excellence, Alberta Health Services. “AHS is rallying alongside its academic partners at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta to help leverage research in the response to this global pandemic.”
Dr. Luanne Metz, study lead, and professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary said the clinical trial will target 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,” Metz said.