COVID treatment: Clinical trials underway for suppository drug to fight virus

Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France, are currently trialling a treatment against COVID-19 in the form of suppositories.

Petri dish
© Unsplash Drew Hays
Petri dish

The Pasteur Institute in Lille, France, announced on Monday 6 August that it had recruited its first patient for the second phase of a clinical trial for a treatment against COVID-19. The internationally renowned centre for biomedical research has also said it is now looking for hundreds of others patients to take part in their clinical trial.

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The trial, for which the Institute obtained the green light from the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines mid-June, is intended to measure the effectiveness of clofoctol, an antibiotic, in preventing hospitalization and in the early management of patients with COVID-19.

The Institute hopes to recruit 'between 350 and 700 patients' through general practitioners and laboratories.

A suppository treatment

Labelled a 'National Research Priority' since 6 April 2021, the clinical trial is an 'adaptive, outpatient, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of clofoctol [...] in patients with early-stage symptomatic COVID-19,' the Institute's press release states.

The compound is to be administered to patients in the form of a suppository, at a rate of two per day for five days. The Institute says that the drug is 'particularly effective in inhibiting the replication of the virus.'

The clofoctol molecule is already marketed in France and in other European countries. In France, since 2005, it has been used in the treatment of respiratory tract and ear, nose and throat infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria.

The Institute has received a five million euro donation from the luxury goods giant LVMH to finance this trial.

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