SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KCAU) – Governor Kristi Noem said Monday that South Dakota will be launching the nation’s first state-wide clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine in treating and preventing COVID-19.
Sanford Health, the largest provider of rural healthcare in the country, aided by Avera and Monument Health will treat up to 100,000 people including outpatient and hospitalized patients with COVID-19, in addition to frontline healthcare workers, and high-risk individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
Dr. Allison Suttle, Sanford Health’s Chief Medical Officer, said the drug will be available for positive COVID-19 patients and high-risk individuals who have been exposed to the virus.
For those who use the drug for proven treatment, their supply of hydroxychloroquine will not be cut into by the clinical trial, Suttle said.
Suttle said the drug prevents the virus from entering the human cell, putting a damper on spread.
The governor she communicated with White House officials throughout last week to let them know that South Dakota’s medical community was ready to step up and lead the way on research efforts.
“I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have as well as for those healthcare workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations,” Noem said.
Noem said South Dakota has received the initial doses necessary to begin the trial.
“We’re going to be the first state in the nation to do a comprehensive clinical trial to assess whether hydroxychloroquine can treat and perhaps even prevent COVID-19,” Noem said.
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, South Dakota’s Secretary of Health, said the healthcare community consistently works together with the state for the benefit of all patients.
“I am excited patients across the state will have access to this drug, and we will learn more about its benefits in treating and even preventing COVID-19,” Malsam-Rysdon said.
Watch a replay of Noe’s Monday press conference below or here.
For more information on South Dakota’s fight against COVID-19, click here.
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