SEATTLE —Researchers are pulling out all the stops to find treatments and cures for patients exposed to COVID-19.
And now a larger study at UW Medicine is enrolling participants to determine whether a treatment combining a low dose of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin can prevent hospitalization and death in people with COVID-19.
Dr. Ann Collier, professor of medicine in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the Univerisity of Washington School of Medicine, is leading a study funded by the National Institutes of Health. She is looking to enroll 2,000 outpatients at sites across the country who have tested positive for COVID-19.
This study is separate from a smaller treatment trial at UW Medicine enrolling 630 patients exposed to COVID-19 using the same regimen.
Researchers say the two studies are complementary. In normal times, researchers said one study would be launched before a larger study. But because of the time-sensitive need for answers, a larger study is being launched simultaneously. The smaller study will provide more insight into the virology of the virus. And the larger trial will provide definitive clinical outcomes data.
Hydroxychloroquine has received considerable hype as a potential treatment for COVID-19 and has been confused with chloroquine, a drug stopped in a treatment trial in Brazil. There is conflicting evidence on whether it works, which is why stronger evidence is needed.
The hydroxychloroquine dose used in these studies has been used safely by many people for decades to prevent malaria and other sicknesses.