Another COVID-19 drug tested in Quebec

A young Canadian company will team up with researchers at McGill University for a phase 3 study on the effectiveness of dapsone, an already existing generic drug, in the treatment of complications related to COVID-19.

• Read also: COVID: 3 in 4 people ready to be vaccinated, worldwide

We can easily feel the excitement in the voices of Drs Houfar Sekhavat and Jean Bourbeau when they talk about the potential of their work.

The Dr Sekhavat, ophthalmologist and founder of Pulmonem, has long used the anti-inflammatory in his practice. He considered using it against the inflammatory storm of COVID during his mandatory quarantine upon his return from Florida in March.

“What is scary are the hospitalizations, the lack of ventilators, the complications linked to the virus. But I think we can see a return to normal life for us and our economy if we demonstrate that dapsone can ultimately control symptoms and avoid these complications, ”explains the New Brunswick doctor.

2000 patients

The clinical trial will be launched in the coming weeks in Canada and the United States. The Dr Bourbeau and his McGill team will be responsible for collecting the results.

“Everywhere we go to present the study, colleagues are excited as much by the dapsone as by the quality of our study”, rejoices the researcher, specifying that all of the 2000 patients will receive the drug directly at home after their positive test. and will be monitored remotely on a computer platform.

Ultimately, if all goes as planned, the results of the DAP-CORONA study could be released at the end of December and the drug quickly distributed in 2021.

“We already have an agreement with a company for the production of one billion tablets per day. And since it is a generic, we are talking about a more than affordable treatment ”, indicates the Dr Sekhavat, citing the cost of around $ 30 per treatment.

Funding objective

The two doctors now hope to receive financial support from governments.

“Our files are presented, but the deadlines are long”, says Dr Jean Bourbeau. “However, we should be proud of our institutions. “

Especially since research on drugs to control symptoms should not be neglected.

“The vaccine is sexier and everyone has come running to invest. But let’s admit that the efficacy is initially at 50%, that leaves 50% of people, plus those who refuse the vaccine, completely unimmunized, ”recalls Dr.r Houfar Sekhavat.

“We will need a few molecules available to treat these people and reduce the risk of complications. “

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