JOHANNESBURG – South Africa will start COVID-19 treatment trials in a week’s time.
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced last month that the country would participate in the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Trial.
The last few weeks have been spent getting regulatory approval to begin treatment trials in the country.
Dr Jeremy Nel, the National Principal Investigator said, “we’re very close to the end of that now. And we hope to be able to start within the next week or so.
“We have more than 12 sites set up which have agreed around the country to start going. They’re ready and chomping at the bit.
“As soon as we get the final permissions we should be able to start soon thereafter.”
Medical professionals at the participating hospitals will be able to enrol patients in the trial.
The patient who has confirmed COVID-19 disease will be offered the chance to participate in this trial, going through a consent process to ensure they are informed of the risks and benefits of the trial.
If that patient agrees to participate, then they will get randomised into one of five possibilities.
One is they carry on as they were — as a placebo patient — and will continue with their standard level of care.
The other four possibilities are from different regimens the researchers are attempting to test.
Dr Nel said the good news is that most of the drugs are readily available and if they show effect, will be able to be distributed to patients within months.
“Three, four months at a minimum and could be quite a lot longer than that.”
While small studies around the world have shown promise, they’re not conclusive.
This worldwide trial will be the biggest and most clinically rigorous effort to find an effective treatment for COVID-19.
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