The study dubbed ANTIVOC is launching at 19 sites across 13 countries where 2000 to 3000 patients with mild infection will be enrolled on various treatments to test their safety and efficacy in preventing the disease from progressing into severe state. The countries involved are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda.
Dr. William Worodria who heads the National COVID-19 case management team told URN that they have changed their guidelines twice before and they quickly get obsolete with new research. He says they are currently compiling the list of new therapies but they will not include popular antiviral drug remdesivir which was approved for treatment by the US Food and Drug Administration last week.
For each patient, according to Kirenga, they will require a dose of at least two units which means that for the study to be complete, they will need to collect more 145 units of blood as the 127 units in stock will not be enough for their target.
Two Indian companies CIPLA and Hetero Pharma that only started manufacturing the drug for emergency use in June following a deal with the original maker Gilead Sciences have already expressed interest in supplying Uganda.
Dr Bruce Kirenga, a researcher and Executive Director at the Makerere University Lung Institute told URN in an interview that they have already been approached by two pharmaceutical companies offering them manufactured antibodies to use while conducting trials.
According to health ministerJane Ruth Aceng, the recovered patients hold a key message of hope and testimony that the virus can be avoided and treated. Aceng was today receiving a donation of face masks and gloves worth 80 million shillings from Watoto Church. The event was held at the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Kampala.