The ‘ANTICOV’ clinical trial, carried out in 13 African countries, began recruiting participants to test a new combination of drugs, nitazoxanide more ciclesonide, to treat people with mild to moderate COVID-19 before their cases get worse.
‘ANTICOV’ is carried out by a consortium of 26 partners, among which are prominent African research institutions and international health organizations, coordinated by the non-profit research and development (R&D) organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). Its about largest trial conducted in Africa to identify early COVID-19 treatments that can prevent progression to severe disease and potentially limit transmission.
“In many African countries, our worst fears are coming true, as intensive care units, already saturated, are starting to fill up with COVID-19 patients. However, the number of vaccine doses reaching the African continent is too limited. The rapid spread of new variants also threatens to reduce the effectiveness of existing vaccines, which is another major concern.. We urgently need to identify affordable and easy-to-administer treatments that can prevent progression to a severe form of the disease and slow the rate of infection, ”commented the director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Africa). , John Nkengasong.
Africa’s CDC recorded more than 120,000 COVID-19 deaths on the continent; however, the actual number of victims is estimated to be higher. And with the spread of new variants, an increase in new cases is expected in the coming months.
‘ANTICOV’ is testing a potential new treatment that combines the well-known antiparasitic nitazoxanide and the inhaled corticosteroid ciclesonide. The combination has two different mechanisms of action that could act at different stages of the infection: one that is potentially active during the first viral replication stage of SARS-COV-2 infection and another that decreases the likelihood of an inflammatory stage that can begin a few days later. Both drugs are already available in the market and will be affordable and easy to access and administer, if their efficacy against COVID-19 is proven.
The inclusion of the combination of nitazoxanide plus ciclesonide in a new branch of the ‘ANTICOV’ study was reviewed through the African Vaccine Regulation Forum (AVAREF) created by the World Health Organization (WHO), which facilitated the regulation process in each ‘ANTICOV’ country, and by the WHO COVID-19 Research Ethics Review Committee.
The first participants in the new arm of the study were recruited from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Guinea. In the coming weeks, participants will be recruited from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda.
(with EP information)