Story By: Jonathan Macias, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
A leading Spanish researcher has launched the world’s first clinical trial using an HIV drug to stop the transmission of the coronavirus rather than just treating the symptoms.
Researcher and epidemiologist Oriol Mitja works at the Universitari Germans Trias I Pujol Hospital in the city of Barcelona in the autonomous community of Catalonia in north-eastern Spain and launched the trial on 1st of April alongside his team of researchers.
The team will use retroviral drug Darunavir normally used on HIV patients in what local media outlet Infobae report is the world’s first trial to try to curb the transmission of COVID-19 rather than trying to cure the symptoms.
Mitja told local media: “The study will be conducted with people who have been in contact with positive cases (people infected with COVID-19) from the northern metropolitan area of Barcelona”.
The doctor explained they will use retroviral medication in a pioneering study to stop the spread of the virus.
Mitja said: “It is a proposal that seeks to stop the contagion instead of curing the infected patients. We will give Daunavir to people infected with COVID-19, a retroviral drug used to treat HIV.
“Furthermore, people who have been in close contact with the person affected by COVID-19 will be given, as a prophylactic treatment, a drug used against malaria called hydroxychloroquine.”
According to Mitja, this treatment could reduce the virus load making a patient infected with coronavirus less infectious and protecting their social circle and health professionals.
He said: “The proposal is pioneering and differs from most of the clinical trials that are being carried out worldwide because it does not seek to cure patients, but instead focuses on cutting the transmission.
The study is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) as Mitja is also an adviser for a specialised United Nations agency.
Mitja is well-respected for his work in Papua New Guinea to eradicate the spread of Pian, a tropical infection of the skin, bones and joints.
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