London, Ont., researchers to study hydroxychloroquine’s potential to prevent, treat coronavirus

Two new studies out of St. Joseph’s Health Care London and Lawson Health Research Institute will look into whether the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine has any potential in preventing or treating the novel coronavirus.

The studies are being supported by the newly formed St. Joseph’s Health Crisis Fund, which was created by the St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation to provide seed funding through donor support to accelerate research through its research arm, Lawson. The crisis fund will focus on urgent clinical trials but will also support equipment and care and comfort items for patients, health-care staff and volunteers.

One of the trials focusing on hydroxychloroquine — led by the medical director of St. Joseph’s infectious diseases care program, Dr. Michael Silverman — will study whether it is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 in health-care workers exposed to the novel coronavirus and whether it is safe and effective in treating “non-hospitalized patients with mild cases.” This is part of a larger trial led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and involves participants worldwide.

The other trial — led by Silverman and Dr. Michael Borrie, a geriatrician and Lawson scientist — involves its potential in preventing COVID-19 in patients and residents at Parkwood Institute who’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

— with a file from Global News’ Simon Little.

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