Clark Files, MD
and Chadwick Miller, MD
Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has been widely discussed as a potential therapeutic for COVID-19. But further research is necessary to validate or refute current findings on the therapy and is a priority for researchers of the Prevention and Early Treatment of Lung Injury (PETAL) Network
, a group of 12 centers comprised of 50 hospitals funded by the NIH-NHLBI and dedicated to preventing and treating acute lung injury. Wake Forest School of Medicine leads the Southeast Clinical Center for the PETAL network.
Clark Files, MD, associate professor in Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Immunologic Medicine, and Chadwick Miller, MD, professor in Emergency Medicine, are participating in PETAL’s multicenter trial called ORCHID
—a double blind placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial (RCT) of oral doses of HCQ by offering the option to join the study to individuals hospitalized at Wake Forest Baptist Health for COVID-19. This RCT methodology is often called the “gold standard” of disease-based studies because it helps deter unconscious bias in addition to testing for safety and efficacy.
HCQ was originally developed to treat malaria and is currently used to treat certain types of rheumatologic conditions. It’s readily available, affordable, has minor side effects and has shown to be effective against the SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, in bench testing.
“If we find that hydroxychlorquine shortens the duration of COVID-19 or prevents very severe disease, the drug will be immediately available for patients. If we find that it does not help patients, or has significant side effects, we will also help patients by not exposing them to this drug as part of routine care for COVID-19 outside of a clinical trial,” says Files.