COVID-19 School of Medicine

Podcast: Global study tests chloroquine to protect health workers from COVID-19

Melissa Delavara, a registered respiratory therapist, works as a frontline caregivers with COVID-19 positive patients at the 8400 level of Barnes-Jewish Hospital on May 1, 2020. (Photo: Matt Miller, WUSM)

More than 10% of those with serious COVID-19 infections have been front-line health-care workers. Now, an international group led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is launching a trial to see whether the drug chloroquine might help those workers. The drug trial won’t treat doctors, nurses and others after they get sick. Instead, the health-care workers will take medication prophylactically, to see whether it might be worth adding low doses of chloroquine to other personal protective equipment, such as masks, gowns and gloves.

Michael Avidan, MBBCh, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology, is leading the study, which has sites in England, Ireland, Africa, Canada, and South America. The group is called the CROWN Collaborative (COVID Research Outcomes World Network). With funding from the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator — an initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Wellcome, Mastercard and an array of public and philanthropic donors — the researchers want to learn whether low doses of chloroquine can keep health-care workers from getting COVID-19 at all or, if they do get sick, whether treatment with the drug might lead to less severe symptoms.

The podcast, “Show Me the Science,” is produced by the Office of Medical Public Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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