Novartis to test malaria drug in 440 hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Novartis said it plans to conduct a 440-person clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19. 

The trial will be a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study where patients will be assigned one of three options: hydroxychloroquine, a combination of hydroxychloroquine and the antibiotic azithromycin or a placebo. 

The trial will be conducted at more than a dozen sites in the U.S. and begin in the next few weeks, the drugmaker said. 

Hydroxychloroquine is the decades-old malaria drug that the president has urged COVID-19 patients to try. It has been regularly given to COVID-19 patients, though it hasn't been proven to be effective in treating the disease. 

Read the full news release here.

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