The ANTICOV clinical trial aims to respond to the urgent need to identify treatments that can be used to treat mild and moderate cases of COVID-19 early and prevent spikes in hospitalizations that could overwhelm fragile and already overburdened health systems in Africa. 

The clinical trial will be carried out at 19 sites in 13 countries by the ANTICOV consortium, which includes 26 prominent African and global research and development (R&D) organizations, coordinated by DNDi. 

We welcome the ANTICOV trial led by African doctors because it will help answer one of our most pressing questions: with limited intensive care facilities in Africa, can we treat people for COVID-19 earlier and stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed?

Dr John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Initially, ANTICOV will focus on drugs where large-scale randomized clinical trials could provide missing efficacy data in mild-to-moderate patients. The trial will begin testing, against a control arm, the HIV antiretroviral combination lopinavir/ritonavir with a loaded dose and the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which remains the standard of care for COVID-19 today in numerous African countries. 

New treatments will be added to the trial as evidence of their potential for mild-to-moderate cases emerges. ANTICOV researchers are actively looking to select the most promising treatments from ongoing global scientific efforts with proof of efficacy, in collaboration with the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) Therapeutics Partnership, co-convened by Unitaid and Wellcome on behalf of the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator. Among the potential therapeutic options being explored by ANTICOV are medicines currently used to treat malaria, HIV, hepatitis C, parasitic infections, and certain cancers. 

‘Treating patients suffering from mild forms of the COVID-19 infection before they evolve into more severe disease and require hospitalisation is a critical challenge around the world. The ANTICOV trial is designed with this objective in mind, aiming to find safe and effective treatments that work for everyone.’

Dr Nick Cammack, COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator Lead at Wellcome, co-convener of the ACT-Accelerator Therapeutic Partnership, United Kingdom 

Major funding for the ANTICOV consortium is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) through KfW and by the global health agency Unitaid as part of ACT-A. Early support to launch the initiative was provided by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), under its second programme supported by the European Union with additional funding from the Swedish government, and the Starr International Foundation, Switzerland.