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Cameroon among 13 African countries to conduct COVID-19 clinical trials

One of Cameroon's specialised COVID-19 treatment centres in the capital city Yaounde Photo: Francis Ajumane

Scientists in Cameroon and twelve other African countries have teamed up to conduct the biggest clinical trial whose goal is to find an effective treatment for COVID-19.

Finding an acceptable treatment in order to relieve hospitals from being overwhelmed with patiets has been a major concern for African scientists since the outbreak of the pandemic and experts are now pushing their efforts a step further.

Thus, the collaboration among the African scientists dubbed ANTICOV, in an international network of research institutions whose aim is to launch the largest COVID-19 clinical trial in mild-to-moderate outpatients in Africa.

“There is a need for large clinical trials in Africa for a Covid-19 vaccine to answer research questions that are specific to an African context,” Dr John Nkengasong, the director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, said last Tuesday during the launch of the programme in Kinshasa, DR Congo.

Dr Nkengasong who has been touring African countries to in the past weeks to exchange notes on the fight against the pandemic, made a stop in Cameroon where he hailed the country’s efforts describing them as a source of inspiration to other nations.

“African countries have mounted an impressive response so far to Covid-19 and now is the time to prepare for future waves of the disease,” he said in Kinshasa last week.

Thus the ANTICOV clinical trials has as major aim to provide a response to the urgent need in identifying treatments that can be used to treatment mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 as early as possible in order to prevent increase in cases and reduce the burdens on hospitals.

Through these clinical trials, African scientists will test the safety and efficacy of treatments in 2,000 to 3,000 mild-to-moderate Covid-19 patients in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda.

Nineteen sites from the 13 African countries have been retained for the trials and will  be coordinated by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), an international non-profit drug research and development (R&D) group with extensive partnerships in Africa.

In a statement released on Wednesday, November 25, the DNDi recently revealed that the potential therapeutic options being explored by ANTICOV are medicines which are currently used to treat malaria, HIV, hepatitis C, parasitic infections, and certain cancers.

“The trial will begin testing, against a control arm, the HIV antiretroviral combination lopinavir/ritonavir and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which remains the standard of care for Covid-19 today in numerous African countries,” the DNDi said.

Published on 28.04.2020

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