The ANTICOV clinical trial, conducted in 13 African countries, has started the recruitment of participants to test a new drug combination, nitazoxanide and ciclesonide, to treat people with mild-to-moderate COVID-19 before their cases become severe.
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) states that the study is being carried out by a consortium of 26 partners which include leading African research institutions and international health organizations.
It is the largest trial in Africa to identify early COVID-19 treatments that can prevent progression to severe disease and potentially limit transmission.
Dr. Nathalie Strub-Wourgaft, Director of the COVID-19 Response for DNDi said, "It has been more than a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, and while we have vaccines registered for use, there are still very few treatment options – especially for the early stage when we could prevent severe progression, potentially reduce transmission, and maybe prevent the risk of developing post-COVID conditions.
We still do not have a treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of COVID-19 and this remains a research priority, in Africa, and throughout the world."
ANTICOV is testing a new potential treatment that combines the well-known anti-parasitic nitazoxanide and the inhaled corticosteroid ciclesonide.
The combination has two different mechanisms of action that could work at different stages of infection: one that is potentially active during the first, viral replication stage of SARS-COV-2 infection and one that decreases the likelihood of an inflammatory stage that can start a few days later.
The first participants in the new study arm have been recruited in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Guinea.
In the coming weeks, additional trial sites will enroll participants in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, and Uganda.
(With input from agencies)