Research Trial Begins in Detroit for COVID-19 Prevention with Hydroxychloroquine

Henry Ford Health System and the city of Detroit are launching the first trial in the nation to see if hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19.

First responders and health care workers from southeastern Michigan will be enrolled in the eight week trial to see if the drug can weaken or prevent COVID-19, according to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Enrollment is voluntary to 3,000 workers who don’t have COVID-19 or any symptoms. An interventional cardiologist from Henry Ford Health System says the hope is to begin the trial next Monday or Tuesday. Plans for the study began 10 days ago and has been fast tracked through the Henry Ford system and the FDA, and is close to FDA approval.

Some of the 3,000 participants will get 200 mg daily of the drug, while some will get weekly doses. Others will receive placebos, in a double-blind, random trial where neither patients nor researchers will know which patients actuallly get the drug.

While the FDA has approved the emergency use of the drug, the state of Michigan has warned against stockpiling the drug.

Hydroxychloroquine has been used for 75 years, and is used to prevent and treat malaria and help patients with conditions like arthritis and lupus. The drug will come from a new shipment or from a reserve, O’Neill said, so it won’t affect the supply of the drug for people using it for non-COVID reasons.

The drug trial is not the only area where Detroit is breaking ground during the coronavirus pandemic. At 4 p.m. Thursday, Detroit planned to start using the Abbott Laboratories 15-minute COVID-19 tests, becoming the first city in the nation to put the technology into practice, Duggan said.

See this story at MLive.