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2020-03-31

Accord donates two million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to largest COVID-19 trial in the world involving 40,000 frontline healthcare workers

Today, 31 March 2020, Accord Healthcare Ltd, the principal European subsidiary of Intas Pharmaceuticals and the largest supplier by volume of generic medicines to the NHS, is collaborating on a large multi-national study into the prevention of COVID-19 infection using hydroxychloroquine, a drug that may have an effect in preventing and/or reducing symptoms of COVID-19, in line with the WHO’s targeted research priorities. The global COPCOV (chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine prevention of COVID-19 in the healthcare setting; a randomised, placebo-controlled prophylaxis) study involves 40,000 frontline healthcare workers who are caring for COVID-19 patients and is planned to start shortly.

COPCOV will be led by UK scientists from the University of Oxford and funded by the Wellcome Trust; the study pools the resources of international experts* across multiple continents. Accord will provide up to two million tablets of hydroxychloroquine to the trial, free of charge, along with two million tablets of matched placebo.

Dr William Schilling, co-lead investigator, Research Physician and Infectious Diseases/ Microbiology Registrar, Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Thailand explains what prompted the rapid initiation of this global trial:

“We are in a race against time to find effective treatments and preventive measures as the COVID-19 pandemic grows. What we already know is that chloroquine has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture, as it does for the related SARS-CoV.”

Professor Sir Nicholas White, Wellcome Trust Principal Fellow and consultant physician at the University of Oxford continues:

“The hypothesis for this study is that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine might both slow viral replication in exposed subjects, attenuating or preventing the infection. There is extensive experience with these well-established drugs in the prevention and treatment of malaria and rheumatological conditions. We need to find out urgently in a large definitive study if they can prevent COVID19. If they do prove effective, then they would be a readily deployable and affordable preventive measure for high risk individuals such as healthcare workers”.

Dr James Burt, Executive Vice President, Europe and MENA said:

“I am extremely proud that Accord is leading the way and playing an important part in the current COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing scientific advice, our teams are working around the clock, in challenging times, to manufacture the required hydroxychloroquine and matching-placebo for this vital study. This is a great demonstration of Accord’s mission to provide essential medicines to people in need, helping to make things better for healthcare professionals on the frontline, patients and society in general.”

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