$9 million grant awarded to CROWN Collaborative

Investigations now underway to explore promising therapeutic treatments for the protection of healthcare workers against COVID-19

An international group of physicians and scientists recently established the COVID-19 Research Outcomes Worldwide Network (CROWN) Collaborative, a global research network charged with investigating promising therapeutic treatments to protect frontline healthcare workers from COVID-19 infection. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is serving as the central clinical coordinating center for the CROWN Collaborative under the leadership of IARS Board Member Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCASA. Dr. Avidan is a Principal Investigator for the study.

To support this important work, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator awarded $9 million in philanthropic support to the CROWN Collaborative for research and development to bring effective COVID-19 treatments to market quickly. An initiative with contributions from an array of public and philanthropic donors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Wellcome Trust, the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is aimed at speeding up R&D and slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

Comprised of investigators from prominent research organizations in African, European, North American and South American countries, including Cameroon, Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Peru, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zambia, the CROWN Collaborative is testing whether the antimalaria drug, chloroquine, can prevent COVID-19 infection or decrease its severity in healthcare workers on the frontlines.

Healthcare workers are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to repeated exposure to infected patients. Approximately 30,000 healthcare workers from around the globe, including those from lower- and middle-income countries, will participate in this five-month clinical trial, called the CROWN CORONATION trial. In countries with few available healthcare workers, COVID-19 infection would prove a significant setback for public health.

Healthcare workers participating in the CROWN CORONATION trials will be divided randomly into four groups and administered three different, well-established chloroquine dose schedules as well as an inactive placebo for the fourth group. The goal will be to determine whether the trial participants are prevented from infection or develop a decreased severity of the COVID-19 disease if infected.

Laurence Lovat, MD, PhD, a professor of gastroenterology and biophotonics at University College London in the United Kingdom, will lead the data collection from the trial sites. In addition to Dr. Avidan, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor and head of the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, other principal investigators for the trial include Ramani Moonesinghe, MD, a professor of perioperative medicine at University College London, and Helen Rees, MD, executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute in Johannesburg. Other site leaders include Professors David Mazer, Eric Jacobsohn and Jessica Spence in Canada, Professor Bruce Biccard and Dr. Leon Du Toit in South Africa and Professor Ellen O’Sullivan in Ireland, as well as many leaders of other specialties and fields in the additional countries represented.

Designed to learn from early study results, the trial will focus on the protection of healthcare workers so they can continue to care for patients infected with COVID-19.

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IMRA Awards

This award is intended to support investigations that will further the understanding of clinical practice in anesthesiology and related sciences. Up to four research projects are selected annually, with a maximum award of $175,000 each, payable over two years.

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