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Pfizer has announced positive data for the use of its azithromycin (Zithromax) drug, along with hydroxychloroquine, in a coronavirus (Covid-19) clinical trial performed in France.

The trial was conducted to assess anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine in 20 patients, six of which were also administered with azithromycin.

Compared with 16 controls, the proportion of participants who achieved virologic cure following six days of treatments was observed to be higher in the 20 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine.

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In addition, the rate of cure was highest in people who received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.

Pfizer previously assessed azithromycin as an anti-infective alone and also in combination with other therapies, including chloroquine.

A fixed-dose azithromycin and chloroquine combination was specifically evaluated to treat and prevent malaria in Africa. The combination was found to be well-tolerable and non-inferior to mefloquine.

A separate study in pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa showed that the combination did not meet efficacy endpoints as a preventive treatment for malaria but demonstrated an acceptable safety profile.

Commenting on the data, Pfizer said: “It is important to note that the doses Pfizer has studied with the combination of azithromycin and chloroquine in malaria may have a different safety profile than the recently reported study combining azithromycin with hydroxychloroquine.

“Pfizer would like to highlight these published studies to facilitate further research efforts to study azithromycin in combination with other agents to mitigate Covid-19 disease.”

Earlier this month, Pfizer announced a five-point strategy to fight the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the company has delayed patient enrolment in new and ongoing trials for three weeks to cut the burden on healthcare facilities and doctors amid the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

The move will not include some studies in patients with life-threatening conditions that have limited or no therapeutic options, noted Reuters.

Eli Lilly also announced plans to delay its clinical trial activities in the wake of the pandemic.