The University of Utah (UofU) will continue on with a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine despite the recent news from one clinical trial that it doesn’t necessarily work and could pose health risk. A University Health Care lead investigator reported to local Salt Lake City media that there are important scientific reasons to continue the study.
Research Infused with Politics
Dr. Rachel Hess, co-principal investigator of the U hydroxychloroquine research team, took some time with KUTV’s Brian Mullahy about why it is important to purse the science and avoid the politics of the day. As Donald Trump called hydroxychloroquine a potential game changer a line of critics followed; but Dr. Hess noted, “We’re just trying to be scientists” and continued, “and look at it not as right, left, red, blue, purple or any other color.” She could not have fathomed such political divisions now not only apparent but ubiquitous in the COVID-19 research world.
There really is only a fundamental question and that is whether the drug can work for people who are ill but not hospitalized. For example, Hess reports that those studies dismissing the anti-malarial drug have centered on very ill COVID-19 patients and this isn’t the only group they are testing the drug on. Hess pursues an important hypothesis that if researchers “decrease the viral replication early, we can not only reduce hospitalizations—which is a very secondary outcome for us—but also decrease transmission to other members of your household.”
Participation in the UofU Study
Thus far, the UofU team have enrolled 35 participants who have tested positive for COVID-19; they are short as they need up to 400 and they have some time given their deadline to have a peer review accomplished by February of 2021.
Rachel Hess, MD, MS, Chief, Division of Health System Innovation and Research
Call to Action: If you are based in Salt Lake City metro area with a positively identified case of COVID-19, consider this study.