UF Health researchers join national study of COVID-19 impacts on health workers, potential remedies

A new research program to understand the effect of COVID-19 on health care workers is soon to be underway at University of Florida Health and other sites across the country. A clinical trial to evaluate whether hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID-19 infections is also being planned. 

The Healthcare Worker Exposure and Outcomes, or HERO, initiative has two parts — a registry and a clinical trial. The registry, which comes out of Duke University, hopes to enroll hundreds of thousands of health care workers nationally who are at risk of developing the COVID-19 infection. Registry members will then be eligible for a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infection in health care workers, called the HERO-HCQ trial.         

At UF Health, a group of researchers and staff will help to recruit health care workers for the Duke registry. Then, up to 1,125 people may ultimately participate in the HERO-HCQ clinical trial through UF Health — 375 each in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Leesburg. 

The HERO program is a special opportunity to learn how COVID-19 affects health care workers and to potentially study hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness as a preventive measure, said Elizabeth A. Shenkman, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the UF College of Medicine’s department of health outcomes and biomedical informatics. She is also the principal investigator for the OneFlorida+ Clinical Research Network, which includes the HERO sites in Florida.

To read more about UF Health’s participation in the HERO initiative, click here.

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