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Africa Assembles Largest Covid-19 Clinical Treatment Trial Launched In 13 Countries

A conglomerate of 13 African countries and an international network of research institutions have joined forces to launch the largest COVID-19 clinical trial in mild-to-moderate outpatients in Africa.

The ANTICOV clinical trial aims to respond to the urgent need to identify treatments that can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 early and prevent spikes in hospitalization that could overwhelm fragile and already overburdened health systems in Africa.

The clinical trial will be carried out at 19 sites in 13 countries and led by doctors from African countries.

The birthing of the initiative came to light after calls for responses to the coronavirus better tailored to the developing world and the challenges of often underfunded healthcare systems.

“There is a need for large clinical trials in Africa for Covid-19 to answer research questions that are specific to an African context,” said Dr John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.“African countries have mounted an impressive response so far to Covid-19 and now is the time to prepare for future waves of the disease. It will help answer one of our most pressing questions: with limited intensive care facilities in Africa – can we treat people for Covid-19 earlier and stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed?”

According to reports, the study will test the efficacy of treatments in 2,000 to 3,000 mild-to-moderate patients in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda, with the aim of identifying treatments that can prevent progression of coronavirus to severe disease and also limit transmission.

“It is heartening to see so many African countries collaborate to get much-needed answers about our unique COVID-19 patient needs,” said Dr. Borna Nyaoke-Anoke, Senior Clinical Project Manager at DNDi, which is also the sponsor for clinical trials in the DRC, Kenya, and Sudan. “Africa has for the most part avoided the large-scale mortality seen in other countries, but with lockdowns ending and borders opening, we need to be prepared. We need research here in Africa that will inform policies and test-and-treat strategies, so that as clinicians we can give the best options to people with COVID-19.”

According to Medical Xpress, ANTICOV is an adaptive platform trial, an innovative type of clinical trial pioneered for cancer drugs that allows for several treatments to be simultaneously tested. Adaptive platform trials enable rapid decisions to be made, including adding, continuing, or stopping treatment arms based on an ongoing analysis of results.

ANTICOV is aligned with the WHO R&D Blueprint, which aims to improve coordination between scientists and global health professionals, accelerate the research and development process, and develop new norms and standards to learn from and improve upon the global COVID-19 response.

The ANTICOV consortium mobilizing a wide network of diverse partners with recognised experience in clinical research, includes 26 members, and they are:

  • Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), France / Senegal
  • Agence Nationale de Recherche sur le Sida et les Hépatites Virales (ANRS), France
  • Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia
  • Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), Spain
  • Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNITM), Germany
  • Centre Muraz, Institut National de Santé Publique, Burkina Faso
  • Centre for Research in Therapeutic Sciences, Kenya
  • Centro de Investigação em Saúde de Manhiça, Mozambique
  • Centro de Investigação e Treino em Saúde da Polana Caniço (CISPOC), Instituto Nacional de Saúde, Mozambique
  • Centre Pasteur du Cameroun (CPC), Cameroon
  • Centre Pour Le Développement Des Vaccins, Ministry of Health, Mali
  • Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS), Côte d’Ivoire
  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), Switzerland – (coordinating partner)
  • Epicentre, France
  • Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Switzerland
  • Ifakara Health Institute, Tanzania
  • Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO), United Kingdom
  • Institute of Endemic Diseases, University of Khartoum, Sudan
  • Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp (ITM), Belgium
  • Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), Democratic Republic of Congo
  • The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), Kenya
  • Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Ghana
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), Switzerland
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Switzerland
  • Université de Bordeaux – Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France
  • University of Gondar, Ethiopia


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