AustralaSian COVID-19 Trial to proceed with hydroxychloroquine arm

Media release

The governance committees for the AustralaSian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) have unanimously agreed that ASCOT should proceed with randomising patients to the hydroxychloroquine arms of the study.

ASCOT Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Steven Tong, a Royal Melbourne Hospital infectious diseases clinician and co-lead of clinical research at the Doherty Institute, said he and the other investigators on the Trial were extremely pleased with the decision.

“The Trial Steering Committee for ASCOT strongly supports the ongoing need for data from randomised clinical trials in order to clarify the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine in patients hospitalised with COVID-19,” said Associate Professor Tong.

“In light of the inherent limitations of observational data, we welcome the governance committees’ decision to allow us to continue to randomise participants to arms containing hydroxychloroquine.

“Randomised controlled trials are considered the ‘gold standard’ when it comes to testing treatments in humans as they remove any bias, therefore providing the robust evidence that’s required to make safe and informed decisions about the ongoing use of a treatment.

“ASCOT is also an adaptive trial, which means that we are able to stop the trial if one of the treatments gives us enough evidence that it will work, or drop any treatment that looks like it will not work before the trial would typically finish.

“Further, as evidence is generated from other trials around the world about other promising treatments, we are able to seamlessly introduce these new treatments into our study.”

Patient recruitment to ASCOT will recommence today, Thursday, 4 June 2020.