The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research is spearheading the study on frontline workers in an effort to find a preventative measure to stop the spread of the virus.
“The trial is focused on our frontline and allied healthcare workers who are at an increased risk of infection due to repeated exposure caring for sick patients,” said Professor Ian Wicks, joint head of clinical translation at the Institute.
“Our aim is to help people stay safe, well, and able to continue in their vital roles.”
A total of 2,250 workers from hospitals in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia will participate in the study, which will last four months. Half of the participants will be given hydroxychloroquine, while the other half will receive a placebo.
The study takes place as other preventive measures, such as vaccines, are being tested.
President Trump said on Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine to ward off the coronavirus.
While some initial studies appeared to support the drug’s benefits, others showed mixed results or even that it could be dangerous for people with certain conditions.
The Veterans Health Administration study examined more than 300 COVID-19 patients and concluded the drug could be dangerous and even lethal.
The president said Monday that the people at the VA “aren’t big Trump fans.”