Clinical trials for covid-19 treatment strategies are now underway at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. 

Dr. Alan Jones is a professor and Department Chair of Emergency medicine at UMMC. He is leading one of several clinical trials aimed at treating patients who are hospitalized due to covid-19.

His study focuses on a drug that's been a hot topic in the news lately, hydroxychloroquine.

 "A study examining a drug that a lot people have heard about in the news hydroxychloroquine which is an anti-malarial drug and it is a study that would randomize the patients to receive the drug or receive standard care so we can determine if the drug is safe and effective." Dr. Jones said. 

He said hydroxychloroquine is relatively inexpensive and easy to produce and says individuals who have a prescription for this drug don't have to worry about any shortages of it.

Dr. Jones and his colleagues are part of the only center in Mississippi conducting clinical trials.

UMMC is the state's sole academic medical center. It is one of 44 sites conducting clinical trials for hydroxychloroquine in the country.

"We were excited that we have a therapy that we could offer to the public and we re also excited we can contribute to the scientific knowledge base related to covid-19," he sais.

Jones said there have been reports from uncontrolled trials that hydroxychloroquine might have positive effects, but doctors also know it can have negative side effects too. Their goal is to build a body of scientific evidence that informs what doctors should do in the future.

As for the present, Dr. Jones said the best way to help fight covid-19 is...

 "Just continue to keep distance, do the social distancing and the isolation ,hand washing and making sure we do our part not to spread the disease around, that s what s most helpful to the healthcare industry," he said.

It 'not clear how long clinical trials will last. Currently they are enrolling patients, but you have to be sick enough to be hospitalized and must be referred by a doctor.

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