April 28, 2020

Could a drug originally used as a treatment for malaria prove to be a treatment for COVID-19?


May 26, 2020: Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our study participants we have temporarily suspended enrolment into the Alberta HOPE COVID-19 Trial into the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an early intervention for COVID-19 until we can fully consider the results from this study and others that are ongoing. Follow-up and monitoring of patients enrolled in the trial will continue.

A clinical trial is underway by researchers at UCalgary and the University of Alberta exploring a drug that could help treat COVID-19. Focusing on Albertans who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are at highest risk of developing a severe illness, the trial will determine whether Hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is an effective treatment to keep people out of hospital.

Our doctors speak about the importance of this research in the wake of the pandemic, getting the trial up and running on a tight timeline, and the unique challenge of not being able to meet in-person with study participants.

About the speakers

Dr. Michael Hill, MD, is a neurologist and clinical trialist at the Foothills Medical Centre. He's a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine’s departments of Clinical Neurosciences, Radiology, Medicine, and Community Health Sciences, as well as a member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary. He was previously associate dean of clinical research at the University of Calgary and has led large multicentre, multinational clinical trials.

Dr. Luanne Metz, MD, is a neurologist, and the acting facility medical director at the Foothills Medical Centre. She is a professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and member of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and O’Brien Institute for Public Health. She was previously section head of neurology in Calgary and has previously led large multicentre clinical trials.

About the moderator

Community leader and Calgary journalist Deborah Yedlin was elected the 14th chancellor of the University of Calgary, effective July 1, 2018. Yedlin has been observing, commenting and writing about business and politics for more than two decades, as a journalist for the Financial Post, Globe and Mail and Calgary Herald newspapers. In addition to her writing, she has been a regular commentator for CBC Radio and Television, and CTV since 1996.

Recorded on April 28, 2020