South Dakota has become the first US state to begin clinical trials for Chloroquine as a possible treatment for COVID-19 infections.
The move was announced by Governor Kristi Noem on Monday who said the effort was being led by the biggest rural healthcare provider in the US, Sanford Health System.
“Our goal is to meaningfully advance the science around COVID-19 so physicians can be better prepared to respond to and treat this novel virus in the future, especially for our populations most at-risk.”
By doing clinical trials during this pandemic, we are trying to find treatments and, thereby, hope.”
Allison Suttle, Chief Medical for Sanford Health said in a statement.
The clinical trial is expected to include 2,000 outpatients who have tested positive to COVID-19. This number is also expected to include front line health care workers and other high risk patients.
There have been numerous controversies between Donald Trump and the Democrats in the US about the effectiveness of Chloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19.
The drug is used to treat Malaria and rheumatic conditions like lupus and arthritis.
The National Institute of Health also announced last week that it intended to carry out clinical trials for Chloroquine.
The focus is however on patients who have already been hospitalised for the disease while Dakota’s study is focused on the preventive nature of the Malaria drug.
Sanford however said there were guidelines in place to prescribe the drug for hospitalised individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.
A French study carried out on 24 individuals proved the drug was effective but it has been widely criticized due to the small number of test subjects.
Clinical trials for the drug was also stopped in Brazil after some of the test subjects started to develop irregular heart rates.
Hospitals in the US have however been prescribing the drug in the hopes that it will help fight the disease.