On 2nd December 2020, the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, launched the clinical trial on Prevention and Treatment of Severe Pneumonia Associated with Covid (PaTS) at the Brikama District Hospital.
The clinical trial aims to investigate the efficacy of pharmacological agents for the prevention of COVID-19 transmission and infection; treatment during the early phase of the infection to prevent progression to severe pneumonia; and treatment during the later (severe) phases to prevent clinical worsening or death. The clinical trial will also be conducted at the Bundung Maternal Hospital.
In his welcoming remarks, Mr Lamin Sanyang, CEO of the Brikama District Hospital said, “The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM has been very instrumental to the health sector and has played a crucial role during the pandemic. The Brikama District Hospital will continue to work hand in glove with the Unit and support them whenever necessary. This trial is a step in the right direction in the fight against the COVID-19.”
Highlighting the significance of the trial, Dr Effua Usuf, Co-Principal Investigator of the PaTS trial said, “The PaTs study will evaluate the efficacy of drugs to prevent the progression of COVID-19 in patients with mild, moderate or severe disease. The trial will also evaluate the efficacy of the chosen drug to break transmission among household contacts. Local data from African countries will contribute to our understanding of the disease. Furthermore, the continent will benefit from effective treatment to manage the pandemic. The MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM has years of research experience and is well placed to conduct this research.”
Speaking on behalf of the Unit Director, Dr Anna Roca, Principal Investigator for the PaTS clinical trial said, “COVID-19 has caused so much harm and left many people behind. The pandemic has changed our lives. Partnerships have been key, and collaborations have marked the difference. The Gambia Government, the Ministry of Health, the stakeholders and the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM have been very instrumental in the fight against this pandemic. The quick response of all the stakeholders led by the government has made the difference and that has led to lower numbers of fatalities.”
Dr Mariama Drammeh, deputising for the Director of Health Services at the Ministry of Health said, “The Ministry of Health is committed and taking concrete steps to halt the spread of this novel virus to ensure it doesn’t have any devastating effects. The Ministry and the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM have been working closely since the pandemic began, and we will continue to work together to achieve our goal to stop this coronavirus. The Ministry highly appreciates the support that the Unit has rendered, and we are confident that this study will yield remarkable results in our battle to fight the coronavirus and widen our knowledge on the epidemiology and management of the virus.”
The two-year trial will be conducted in the West Coast Region of The Gambia, with continued recruitment for 12 - 18 months, depending on the extent of the outbreak in the country.
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