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How Central Florida Health Care Workers Can Sign Up For Hydroxychloroquine Clinical Trial

Testing for COVID-19 at The Villages Polo Field in The Villages. (Courtesy UF)
Louis Brems/University of Florida
Testiing for COVID-19 at THe Villages Polo Field in The Villages, FL.

Recruitment is underway in Orlando, Leesburg and Daytona Beach for a clinical trial to see if hydroxychloroquine could help prevent COVID-19 infections.

The Healthcare Worker Exposure and Outcomes, or HERO, initiative will recruit 100,000 health care workers in a registry nationwide. Check here to register in the HERO initiative research project.

Those in the registry would then be eligible to be in a clinical trial to test hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness at preventing COVID-19 infections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the study this week.

Dr. Jorge Lascano, an associate professor of medicine at UF, said he knows health care workers who have died from COVID-19.

“They call them heroes, and they are, but I don’t want to be a hero," Lascano said. "I want to continue doing the job I love, caring for patients in their most difficult times. Finding the right answers for prevention will let us keep doing our jobs safely.”

UF plans to enroll more than 1,125 people in the clinical trial, with 375 people at three sites: Leesburg, Gainesville and Jacksonville. AdventHealth will also recruit in Orlando and Daytona Beach.

Advent Health Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Steven Smith said President Donald Trump has raised awareness by talking about the drug.

“We really don’t have many treatment options at this time," Smith said. "We don’t have vaccines, we don’t have antivirals that are proven. So let me tell you, we’re gonna have a definitive answer in the next couple months on whether hydroxychloroquine works.”

Smith said they plan to have initial results in June or July. The study is looking for a wide variety of health care workers, including doctors, nurses, food service workers, respiratory therapists and environmental services workers.

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