Prism Clinical Research collaborates with University of Minnesota researchers in COVID-19 prevention treatment study for healthcare workers

9th April 2020

Prism Clinical Research (a Nucleus Network company) is playing a key role in supporting the University of Minnesota as it commences trialling a COVID-19 prevention treatment targeting frontline healthcare workers and first responders. 

David Boulware, MD, MPH, a professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, leads the trial with a collaborative team from the University, including infectious disease faculty physicians, biostatisticians, pharmacologists and students.

Principal Investigator Radha Rajasingham, MD, is an assistant professor in the Medical School’s Department of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine.

“We are working with Prism Research for their pharmacy services and I want to thank Prism Research for supporting our study,” said Dr Rajasingham, who is working on the “Pre-exposure Prophylaxis for SARS-Coronavirus 2: A pragmatic randomized clinical trial.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, Rajasingham said there is an urgent need to identify treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19. “Our study evaluates the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in preventing COVID-19 in high-risk healthcare workers.”

The University of Minnesota research team has confirmed that hydroxychloroquine will be given to non-hospitalized people with COVID-19 to determine if the treatment is effective in preventing hospitalization and decreasing the severity of symptoms.

If the results of this trial validate the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, this would ensure a robust workforce in hospitals and nursing homes. It could potentially complement existing public health strategies to reduce the burden of COVID-19 disease.

Hydroxychloroquine is an FDA-approved medicine for the prevention and treatment of malaria, which has been available since the 1950s and commonly known as Plaquenil(R). Recent work shows that hydroxychloroquine is active in a laboratory setting against the novel SARS-Cov-2 virus.

“If effective, this may become a worldwide standard of care for helping prevent disease in other healthcare workers and people exposed,” said Boulware. “Hydroxychloroquine is an off-patent, generic medicine that is inexpensive. A five-day treatment course would cost approximately $12.”

“Prism has the opportunity to be a contributor in the battle to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Prism Vice President, Jeff Cosgrove. “As a key collaborator in the development of this promising therapeutic, Prism’s role in solving the current pandemic is top of mind.”

“For Prism, being part of the team that is striving to protect our frontline high-risk health care workers, and working on critical medical advancements, is why we exist,” said Cosgrove.