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Panic as South Africa plots to test Coronavirus treatment on patients

by Mandla Ndlovu
06 Apr 2020 at 18:21hrs | Views
South Africans took to Twitter to express their shock and panic that Coronavirus patients in their country will be used as guinea pigs in pursuit of finding a cure for the deadly epidemic under a Solidarity Clinic Trial.

The matter was ignited by EFF's Political Commissar Dr. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi who questioned why the Presidential Spokesperson Khusela Diko was lying that no test is being done on humans.

Said Ndlozi, "What is going on @KhuselaS? You say is no vaccine being tested on South Africans or anywhere in the Continent. Yet Naledi Pando says there are trails of a #Covid19 vaccine. Whose vaccines are these? From which companies? Have people being tested volunteered themselves or not?"

Diko maintained that the tests were not being performed on humans but were tested in labs.

"This is not a test on citizens. The Department of Health issued a very clear statement on the WHO process. I repeat there are no citizen trials in South Africa, please stop creating unnecessary panic."

Her response prompted Ndlozi to post a screen of a World Health Organisation statement that said four drugs shall be tested on patients who shall be enrolled from multiple countries.

Other countries that have already confirmed their participation in the trial are Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and Thailand.

Last month South Africa's  Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said the drugs that are being tested under the solidarity are:

•           Remdesivir: a drug which was previously used in an Ebola trial;
•           Lopinavir/ritonavir: a licensed treatment for HIV and Aids;
•           Lopinavir/ritonavir with interferon beta-1a:  used for Multiple Sclerosis, and
•           Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine: drugs used to treat Malaria and rheumatology conditions respectively.  

The South African Solidarity research team is led by senior academics and clinicians from eight medical schools. The leading hospitals are:

Livingston Tertiary Hospital and Dora Nginza Hospital (Nelson Mandela University); Dr George Mukhari Hospital (Sefako Makgatho Health Science University); Tygerberg Hospital (Stellenbosch University); Groote Schuur Hospital (University of Cape Town); Military Hospital, NHLS Universitas Hospital, Pelonomi Hospital and a private hospital with Mediclinic (University of Free State); King Edward Addington and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital (University of KwaZulu-Natal); Steve Biko Academic Hospital (University of Pretoria); and Baragwanath and Charlotte Maxeke (Wits University).

A quick search on the internet revealed that the test will be carried in the following manner:

A principal investigator in each of the 14 hospitals will determine whether patients with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is eligible (only patients 18 years or older and in hospital or recently admitted to hospital will be considered). The patient's data is then entered into a WHO website, including any underlying condition that could change the course of the disease, such as diabetes or HIV infection.

After the physician states which drugs are available at his or her hospital, the trial randomisation center at the WHO will then inform the doctor as to which of five treatment groups the patient is randomly allocated; one of the four treatment arms or the usual standard of care for COVID-19 in the country.

The WHO convened an independent group of experts to review evidence from laboratory, animal and clinical studies to prioritise treatments for inclusion in the trial. They identified the following treatment options: Remdesivir, lopinavir/ritonavir, lopinavir/ritonavir with interferon beta-1a, and chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine.

A WHO global data and safety monitoring committee will monitor safety results and treatment outcomes, and make recommendations about when results are sufficiently conclusive to be communicated, as well as whether changes to the trial are needed.

Source - Byo24News