Monday 26 October, 2020

UWI to take part in global COVID-19 treatment study

The University of the West Indies (UWI) will take part in a study designed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in an effort to find methods to properly treat COVID-19. 

All the university’s regional campuses, including Trinidad and Tobago, will be taking part. 

Speaking on the study at the Ministry of Health’s daily virtual health briefing, Professor Terrence Seemungal, Dean of the UWI Faculty of Medicine, explained that it’s set to be a comparative analysis of four drug treatments, including hydrochloroquine, and standard patient care. 

Standard care refers to the treatment of singular symptoms or the prescription of anti-biotics based on the patient’s individual needs. 

“Patients will be given the opportunity of enrolling in the study; of course, and they can say no and if they say yes, they will have to sign a consent form and further information will be given to them,” he said. 

The study calls for the enrollment of people who are already infected with COVID-19 to participate, but they will be relinquishing some measure of control. 

“If someone opts to go into the study, they cannot say which line of treatment they must get; it is, what we call, randomised and the randomisation process is done by the WHO,” he explained. 

Professor Seemungal says the intention is for scientists to be able to conclusively determine which of the drugs, if any at all, could be effective in treating COVID-19. 

Timelines for the study will range between seven to 14 days depending on which treatment the subject is given. 

The University’s ethics committee will have the last say on whether UWI does end up officially participating in the study. 

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