The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Novartis have reached an agreement to permit the Swiss company to go ahead with a clinical trial of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine for those who have contracted the coronavirus.

Novartis announced it will start enrollment for the third phase of the clinical trial for some 440 patients within the next few weeks and that the study will be carried out in more than a dozen labs across the United States.

“We recognize the importance of answering the scientific question of whether hydroxychloroquine will be beneficial for patients with COVID-19 disease,” said John Tsai, Novartis’ chief medical officer and head of the company’s global drug development. “We mobilized quickly to address this question in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.”

The Swiss pharmaceutical firm added that it is committed to reporting results as soon as possible.

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