20 minutes – Launch of a study on preventive treatments

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A clinical study will be launched in Switzerland to study the impact of preventive treatments against the new coronavirus. This trial will test the efficacy of the well-known anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, the anti-HIV drug lopinavir / ritonavir and close monitoring in people who have had close contact with infected patients.

This trial is launched by the Geneva University Hospitals, the University Hospital of Ble and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), said a joint press release published on Thursday.

The study called CoPEP will be offered to family members or colleagues who have been in close contact with a person whose Covid-19 infection has been duly documented. Health personnel will also be included.

Three different groups

Each of the participants will be randomly assigned to one of three groups. In the first group, participants will receive a single dose of hydroxychloroquine. Subjects in the second group will receive a combination of lopinavir / ritonavir for five days. Those in the third will not receive medication, but will benefit from close clinical monitoring.

All participants will be monitored daily to detect if they have symptoms of Covid-19. Three weeks after the start of the study, they will be contacted again, to check whether or not they have developed an infection and, if so, how serious they are.

Attenuate the following waves

If one or both of the drugs proved to be effective, this would allow us to react quickly when new cases arise. We could thus attenuate the second and third waves, so much feared of the pandemic, says Niklaus Labhardt, head of the research group at Swiss TPH, quoted in the press release.

Alexandra Calmy, doctor in charge of the HIV Unit of the Infectious Diseases Service of HUG, who directs this study, adds: Post-exposure prophylaxis could be a pragmatic approach to contain or slow down new epidemics at an early stage.

(nxp / ats)

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