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Country’s largest drug trial on Covid-19 proves effective: study

By Our Correspondent
July 21, 2020

LAHORE: The preliminary results of country's largest drug trial on Covid-19 "Pakistan Randomized and Observational Trial to Evaluate Coronavirus Treatment (PROTECT)", has not only established the safety of hydroxychloroquine, a drug generally used for treating malaria, in terms of mortality but has also shown significant recovery rate in Covid-19 patients when used in combination with two other drugs- azithromycin and oseltamivir.

The results were made public here at the University of Health Sciences (UHS), on Monday, in a ceremony which was presided over by Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, and attended by provincial minister for higher education Raja Yassir Humayun, vice-chancellors of medical universities, researchers and faculty members.

Releasing the results of the study, UHS vice-chancellor, Prof Javed Akram, who is also the principal investigator, clarified that it aimed at evaluating hydroxychloroquine alone and in various drug combinations as treatment of corona.

"It is a multicentre, adaptive, randomized control drug trial aimed at newly-diagnosed patients", he informed. He said the study found that COVID-19 patients who received the three drugs combined had a recovery rate of 86 percent.

On this occasion, paying a rich tribute to the frontline health workers, the governor said that the nation would always remember the valour and courage with which the health workers fought against corona.

"A memorial wall is being erected at the Governor House in recognition of the services of health workers that would bear the names of all the frontline soldiers", he added. The governor called the vice-chancellors of all the medical universities Supermen. He added that the steadfastness and resilience of this nation were unmatched in the world. He said that while it was an encouraging sign to see virus cases decreasing, now cattle markets, Eidul Azha and Muharram posed a great challenge with regards to controlling the spread of infection once again.

"If these challenges are overcome, we will overcome corona", the governor asserted. UHS VC Prof Javed Akram apprised the participants that the drug trial was launched on 30 April after the approval from Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).