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Latest News 30 April 2020|A Counties Manukau Health doctor is leading a trial to find possible treatments for COVID-19.

Middlemore clinical microbiologist and infectious diseases physician Dr Susan Morpeth is at the helm of the New Zealand arm of an Australasian study (ASCOT: the Australasian COVID-19 Trial).

ASCOT will test whether medicines are safe and effective for the treatment of COVID-19 among patients admitted to hospital, starting with medicines used to treat HIV (lopinavir/ritonavir) and arthritis and malaria (hydroxychloroquine).

There are 11 hospitals in New Zealand and 70+ Australian hospitals participating in the ASCOT study.

Dr Morpeth says the aim is to see whether using these drugs will prevent patients deteriorating to the point of needing a ventilator, or dying.

A related study, led in New Zealand by Auckland Hospital intensive care specialist Dr Colin McArthur will focus on people with COVID-19 who are admitted to intensive care.

“ASCOT is being designed as a responsive adaptive trial, which means if a drug is proving effective, we can adapt the trial to focus on that treatment. Conversely, if a drug isn’t effective, or is causing severe side effects, we stop it. Ideally, as other potential treatments become available, these can be tested within the ASCOT framework,” Dr Morpeth says.

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