Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

As high COVID-19 daily cases and highly transmissible variants risk overwhelming countries’ healthcare systems, COPCOV, the world’s last-standing large prophylaxis RCT, faces tight timelines to determine whether chloroquine/ hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19

Pie Chart with COPCOV recruitment as of 7th July 2021. A black & white version of the pie chart and a table with figures can be found at https://www.tropmedres.ac/news/recruitment-surges-in-copcov-covid-19-prevention-study/copcov-recruitment-as-of-7-july-2021

COPCOV – the world’s largest trial trying to determine if hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine prevent COVID-19 – has more than doubled recruitment in the past month, with 1332 participants enrolled as of 7 July. Funded by Wellcome and led by MORU, COPCOV has begun recruitment in Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia and Mali, restarted in Pakistan and Zambia, and hopes to open new study sites in Benin, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal and Niger.

This is truly fantastic and demonstrates the determination and support of all those involved in the study, and in particular our collaborators at sites.

Sponsored by the University of Oxford (UK) and led by the Bangkok-based Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), COPCOV (Chloroquine/ hydroxychloroquine prevention of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)) is funded by a grant by the COVID-19 Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and MasterCard Therapeutics Accelerator.

However, timelines are tight if COPCOV is to answer the question as to whether chloroquine/ hydroxychloroquine prevents COVID-19. As the last-standing large prophylaxis RCT, the COPCOV study is in the unique position of being able to still give the answer definitively. Now, more than ever, with the end in sight, we need one last push from all!

Since COPCOV began recruitment in Thailand in April of 2020, the COVID-19 landscape has changed considerably. Vaccination has gone from a distant hope, to a reality for many but not all, and yet COVID-19 daily cases are some of the highest they have ever been worldwide. In addition, highly transmissible mutants have established themselves and overwhelmed countries which had previously dealt well with outbreaks. Mutants against which there is decreased vaccine efficacy are also here, and we should expect these to become more prevalent as vaccines apply selective pressure. Now, as before, effective chemotherapeutics could still be lifesaving to prevent and treat infections and maybe much more so, if we do see these mutants causing vaccine failures.

Recently it has been stated that the evidence suggests the drugs do not work. Most notably the WHO’s   A living guideline on drugs to prevent covid-19 stated that there was high certainty evidence that hydroxychloroquine does not prevent COVID-19.

This is wrong with large amounts of uncertainty in the effect which hydroxychloroquine may have in prevention. and with the effect estimate of currently published studies pointing towards moderate benefit. Truthfully, we still don’t know. While there is this uncertainty, and COVID-19 continues to infect people around the world, we must continue. We have responded to these articles, have a letter upcoming to The Lancet, pointing out their flaws, and have received strong support to continue from all those involved in the study and our excellent Trial Steering Committee and Data Safety and Management Board to continue.

Our thanks to everyone for their continued support and hard work, in what have been very challenging circumstances. Now more than ever, this study is needed, and with the recent increased recruitment, success is once again in our sights!

- Nick White and Will Schilling, COPCOV co-PIs.

For accessibility, we have posted a black & white version of the pie chart, and a table with all figures

Similar stories

Antimalarial chemoprophylaxis for forest goers could help accelerate malaria elimination in Cambodia

Giving people antimalarials during and after visiting the forest reduced their risk of contracting malaria 6-fold, and could be the missing piece towards eliminating malaria in Asia-Pacific and South America, say Mahidol and Oxford University researchers in a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Four CTMGH researchers awarded full professorships

We are delighted to announce that four of our researchers have been awarded the title of Professor, in recognition of their research achievements, contribution to teaching, and contribution to the general work of the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.

INTERBIO-21st study findings could help predict infants at risk of obesity

Fetal abdomen growth and the mother’s blood fat metabolites very early in pregnancy influence a child’s weight, body fat, vision and neurodevelopment at 2 years of age

Using mathematical modelling to fight malaria

Researchers have created a mathematical model to predict genetic resistance to antimalarial drugs in Africa to manage one of the biggest threats to global malarial control.

MORU hepatitis work focusses on preventing mother-to-child transmission, high-at-risk populations, and remote communities

MORU Tropical Health Network researchers in Southeast Asia study various aspects of hepatitis B and C, infections that can lead to chronic liver diseases, and complications like liver cancer or cirrhosis. Researchers at MOCRU work on treatment for hepatitis C, a frequent opportunistic infection in HIV patients. MORU’s Clinical Pharmacology conducts two trials on possible treatments of hepatitis C. Hepatitis B is frequently transmitted from mother to child at birth, and SMRU researchers study mothers’ knowledge and behaviour, as well as prevention.

Incomplete reporting of COVID-19 disease severity criteria compromises meta-analysis

Patients affected by COVID-19 should be treated according to the severity of their disease. However, not all key national or international organisations define severity in the same way. This imprecision in severity assessment compromises the validity of some therapeutic recommendations. Using individual patient data would better guide and improve therapeutic recommendations for COVID-19.