WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The federal government has awarded Wilmington-based PPD $750,000 to research two antimalarial drugs being touted as a possible treatment for the novel coronavirus.
According to federal contracting records, the contract research organization has until April 21 to develop an “expanded access treatment protocol for hydrochloroquine and chloroquine in patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), positive for SARS-COV-2 virus exposure, or pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the contract on March 24.
A message to PPD was not immediately returned. This story will be updated with the company’s response.
Interest in hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine increased last month after reports the prescription drugs could be used as a possible treatment for the coronavirus. President Donald Trump later praised the drugs in a series of tweets.
The surge in demand for the drugs has caused a shortage for patients taking the medication for other conditions, NBC News reported.
It’s worth noting the Food and Drug Administration has not approved any drugs specifically for the treatment of COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is, however, recommending hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients.