Researchers at Medical Research Institute of New Zealand have announced REMAP-CAP, MRINZ and ASCOT clinical trials to study potential treatments for Covid-19.

Led by the institute, REMAP-CAP is the largest trial and has been already started at more than 65 Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in 13 countries globally.

Researchers in Australia, New Zealand, UK, the Netherlands, Canada and the US are primarily responsible for the trial, which is designed for adaption based on the pandemic status.

It is designed to evaluate various Covid-19 drug candidates, including lopinavir/ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin and steroids, among other immune modulating treatments.

REMAP-CAP trial co-leader Dr Colin McArthur said: “It allows us to evaluate several treatments at the same time, in the same patient, combining the results from around the world, then use this to influence care for future patients, to ensure they too are more likely to receive the best treatment regime available.

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“We can quickly drop treatments if they are shown to be less effective than others or worse than standard care, and add others to the study over time if need be.”

Meanwhile, the MRINZ trial will assess hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis therapy for frontline healthcare workers who are at high risk for Covid-19 due to exposure to patients.

The trial will be conducted if the number of Covid-19 cases in New Zealand increases over the next few months and will involve frontline healthcare workers.

MRINZ is also involved with ASCOT, a collaborative trial led in New Zealand by Middlemore Hospital.

This study will compare lopinavir/ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine either alone or in combination, to full standard supportive care, in hospitalised patients.