Clinical trials for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19: current state of play

Joshua S. Davis, David Ferreira, Justin T. Denholm, Steven Y.C. Tong

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    • Since coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and spread around the world, over 1100 clinical studies have been registered globally on clinical trials registries, including over 500 randomised controlled trials. 

    • Such rapid development and launch of clinical trials is impressive but presents challenges, including the potential for duplication and competition. 

    • There is currently no known effective treatment for COVID-19. 

    • In order to focus on those studies most likely to influence clinical practice, we summarise the 31 currently registered randomised trials with a target sample size of at least 1000 participants. 

    • We have grouped these trials into four categories: prophylaxis; treatment of outpatients with mild COVID-19; treatment of hospitalised patients with moderate COVID-19; and treatment of hospitalised patients with moderate or severe disease. 

    • The most common therapeutic agent being trialled currently is hydroxychloroquine (24 trials with potential sample size of over 25 000 participants), followed by lopinavir–ritonavir (seven trials) and remdesevir (five trials) 

    • There are many candidate drugs in pre-clinical and early phase development, and these form a pipeline for future large clinical trials if current candidate therapies prove ineffective or unsafe.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)86-93
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedical Journal of Australia
    Issue number2
    Early online date27 Jun 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


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