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BSMS researchers lead the way in international trial to protect healthcare workers from Covid-19

Martin Llewelyn is leading the UK arm of a global study to test if chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can prevent Covid-19 in frontline healthcare workers.

Martin Llewelyn, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), is leading the UK arm of a global study, which is opening at hospital sites in Brighton and Oxford, to test if either chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine can prevent Covid-19 in vital frontline healthcare workers. 

Laboratory evidence shows that these well-established drugs might be effective in preventing or treating Covid-19 but there is no conclusive proof. Despite the lack of strong evidence these drugs are being widely recommended, and they are being widely used in some countries, so finding out if they can protect against Covid-19 – yes or no – is of tremendous importance. 

Internationally, the trial will recruit 40,000 healthcare workers in South East Asia, Africa and Europe. In the UK, Prof Llewelyn will lead the evaluation at around 20 acute NHS hospitals.

Prof Llewelyn says: “Even though the lockdown has brought the rate of infection right down in the UK, healthcare workers will continue to be at risk of Covid-19, especially as measures are relaxed. A widely available, safe and effective vaccine may be a long way off. If drugs as well tolerated as chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine could reduce the chances of catching Covid-19 this would be incredibly valuable.” 

Although many countries have begun to bend the curve of new Covid-19 cases per day downwards, the possibility of a second wave of cases cannot be excluded, and developing additional tools to protect frontline healthcare workers from contracting Covid-19 remains very important for the UK, as well as for many other countries in the world. 

Enrolment of the first UK participants in COPCOV is beginning at the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

BSMS is a partnership of the Universities of Brighton and Sussex.


Posted on behalf of: BSMS
Last updated: Saturday, 23 May 2020

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