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PLoS One ; 16(3): e0247356, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1119472


BACKGROUND: Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and azithromycin (AZM) are antimalarial drugs recently reported to be active against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus- 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which is causing the global COVID-19 pandemic. In an emergency response to the pandemic, we aimed to develop a quantitation method for HCQ, its metabolites desethylhydroxychloroquine (DHCQ) and bisdesethylchloroquine (BDCQ), and AZM in human plasma. METHODS: Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry was used to develop the method. Samples (20 µL) are extracted by solid-phase extraction and injected onto the LC-MS/MS system equipped with a PFP column (2.0 × 50 mm, 3 µm). ESI+ and MRM are used for detection. Ion pairs m/z 336.1→247.1 for HCQ, 308.1→179.1 for DHCQ, 264.1→179.1 for BDCQ, and 749.6→591.6 for AZM are selected for quantification. The ion pairs m/z 342.1→253.1, 314.1→181.1, 270.1→181.1, and 754.6→596.6 are selected for the corresponding deuterated internal standards (IS) HCQ-d4, DHCQ-d4, BDCQ-d4, and AZM-d5. The less abundant IS ions from 37Cl were used to overcome the interference from the analytes. RESULTS: Under optimized conditions, retention times are 0.78 min for BDCQ, 0.79 min for DHCQ, 0.92 min for HCQ and 1.87 min for AZM. Total run time is 3.5 min per sample. The calibration ranges are 2-1000 ng/mL for HCQ and AZM, 1-500 ng/mL for DHCQ and 0.5-250 ng/mL for BDCQ; samples above the range are validated for up to 10-fold dilution. Recoveries of the method ranged from 88.9-94.4% for HCQ, 88.6-92.9% for DHCQ, 88.7-90.9% for BDCQ, and 98.6%-102% for AZM. The IS normalized matrix effect were within (100±10) % for all 4 analytes. Blood samples are stable for at least 6 hr at room temperature. Plasma samples are stable for at least 66 hr at room temperature, 38 days at -70°C, and 4 freeze-thaw cycles. CONCLUSIONS: An LC-MS/MS method for simultaneous quantitation of HCQ, DHCQ, BDCQ, and AZM in human plasma was developed and validated for clinical studies requiring fast turnaround time and small samples volume.

Anti-Bacterial Agents/blood , Antimalarials/blood , Azithromycin/blood , Chloroquine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxychloroquine/analogs & derivatives , Hydroxychloroquine/blood , Blood Specimen Collection/methods , Chloroquine/blood , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid/methods , Drug Monitoring/methods , Edetic Acid/blood , Humans , Limit of Detection , Tandem Mass Spectrometry/methods
J Pharm Biomed Anal ; 196: 113935, 2021 Mar 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051795


BACKGROUND: The present COVID-19 pandemic has prompted worldwide repurposing of drugs. The aim of the present work was to develop and validate a two-dimensional isotope-dilution liquid chromatrography tandem mass spectrometry (ID-LC-MS/MS) method for accurate quantification of remdesivir and its active metabolite GS-441524, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, ritonavir, favipiravir and azithromycin in serum; drugs that have gained attention for repurposing in the treatment of COVID-19. METHODS: Following protein precipitation, samples were separated with a two-dimensional ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (2D-UHPLC) setup, consisting of an online solid phase extraction (SPE) coupled to an analytical column. For quantification, stable isotope-labelled analogues were used as internal standards for all analytes. The method was validated on the basis of the European Medicines Agency bioanalytical method validation protocol. RESULTS: Detuning of lopinavir and ritonavir allowed simultaneous quantification of all analytes with different concentration ranges and sensitivity with a uniform injection volume of 5 µL. The method provided robust validation results with inaccuracy and imprecision values of ≤ 9.59 % and ≤ 11.1 % for all quality controls. CONCLUSION: The presented method is suitable for accurate and simultaneous quantification of remdesivir, its metabolite GS-441525, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, lopinavir, ritonavir, favipiravir and azithromycin in human serum. The quantitative assay may be an efficient tool for the therapeutic drug monitoring of these potential drug candidates in COVID-19 patients in order to increase treatment efficacy and safety.

Antiviral Agents/blood , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Isotopes/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/blood , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/blood , Amides/blood , Azithromycin/blood , Chloroquine/blood , Chromatography, Liquid/methods , Furans/blood , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/blood , Lopinavir/blood , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pyrazines/blood , Pyrroles/blood , Ritonavir/blood , Tandem Mass Spectrometry/methods , Triazines/blood
Antimicrob Agents Chemother ; 64(9)2020 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-654170


Previously, ivermectin (1 to 10 mg/kg of body weight) was shown to inhibit the liver-stage development of Plasmodium berghei in orally dosed mice. Here, ivermectin showed inhibition of the in vitro development of Plasmodium cynomolgi schizonts (50% inhibitory concentration [IC50], 10.42 µM) and hypnozoites (IC50, 29.24 µM) in primary macaque hepatocytes when administered as a high dose prophylactically but not when administered in radical cure mode. The safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of oral ivermectin (0.3, 0.6, and 1.2 mg/kg) with and without chloroquine (10 mg/kg) administered for 7 consecutive days were evaluated for prophylaxis or radical cure of P. cynomolgi liver stages in rhesus macaques. No inhibition or delay to blood-stage P. cynomolgi parasitemia was observed at any ivermectin dose (0.3, 0.6, and 1.2 mg/kg). Ivermectin (0.6 and 1.2 mg/kg) and chloroquine (10 mg/kg) in combination were well-tolerated with no adverse events and no significant pharmacokinetic drug-drug interactions observed. Repeated daily ivermectin administration for 7 days did not inhibit ivermectin bioavailability. It was recently demonstrated that both ivermectin and chloroquine inhibit replication of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro Further ivermectin and chloroquine trials in humans are warranted to evaluate their role in Plasmodium vivax control and as adjunctive therapies against COVID-19 infections.

Antimalarials/pharmacology , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Ivermectin/pharmacology , Liver/drug effects , Malaria/drug therapy , Plasmodium cynomolgi/drug effects , Animals , Antimalarials/blood , Antimalarials/pharmacokinetics , Biological Availability , Chloroquine/blood , Chloroquine/pharmacokinetics , Drug Administration Schedule , Drug Combinations , Drug Synergism , Female , Hepatocytes/drug effects , Hepatocytes/parasitology , Ivermectin/blood , Ivermectin/pharmacokinetics , Liver/parasitology , Macaca mulatta , Malaria/parasitology , Male , Parasitemia/drug therapy , Plasmodium cynomolgi/growth & development , Plasmodium cynomolgi/pathogenicity , Primary Cell Culture , Schizonts/drug effects , Schizonts/growth & development
Elife ; 92020 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-636307


Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are used extensively in malaria and rheumatological conditions, and now in COVID-19 prevention and treatment. Although generally safe they are potentially lethal in overdose. In-vitro data suggest that high concentrations and thus high doses are needed for COVID-19 infections, but as yet there is no convincing evidence of clinical efficacy. Bayesian regression models were fitted to survival outcomes and electrocardiograph QRS durations from 302 prospectively studied French patients who had taken intentional chloroquine overdoses, of whom 33 died (11%), and 16 healthy volunteers who took 620 mg base chloroquine single doses. Whole blood concentrations of 13.5 µmol/L (95% credible interval 10.1-17.7) were associated with 1% mortality. Prolongation of ventricular depolarization is concentration-dependent with a QRS duration >150 msec independently highly predictive of mortality in chloroquine self-poisoning. Pharmacokinetic modeling predicts that most high dose regimens trialled in COVID-19 are unlikely to cause serious cardiovascular toxicity.

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are closely-related drugs used for the treatment of malaria and rheumatological conditions, such as lupus. Laboratory tests have indicated that these drugs could also be used against the virus that causes COVID-19. Given the urgent need, these drugs have been fast-tracked into large-scale clinical trials, bypassing the usual stages that would provide estimates for suitable dosage. The dosage is a critical factor in a clinical trial: too low and the drug will not have an effect, too high and the side effects may counteract any potential benefits. Laboratory tests suggest that higher doses of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are needed for treating COVID-19 compared to malaria or lupus. However, there are concerns about the high doses used in some trials, as the drugs can have lethal side effects. Indeed, chloroquine has been used extensively in suicide attempts, particularly in France. To address these concerns, Watson et al. set out to determine the highest dosage of chloroquine (and thus of hydroxychloroquine, approximately) that does not cause unacceptable side effects. First, data was analysed regarding the concentration of chloroquine in the blood of 302 patients who had intentionally overdosed on the drug, since this concentration is tightly correlated with their risk of death. Watson et al. used a statistical model to calculate the maximal chloroquine concentration in a person's blood associated with a one per cent risk of death. This is taken to be the threshold above which any potential benefit of chloroquine treatment would be outweighed by the possibility of lethal toxicity. Watson et al. also estimated the relationship between chloroquine concentrations and changes in electrocardiogram patterns, which record the electrical activity of the heart. This makes it possible to determine whether a high dose of chloroquine has led to dangerous levels in the blood. Using a mathematical model of how chloroquine is metabolised, Watson et al. predicted that most of the trials that tested chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 did not reach the calculated threshold concentration. An exception was the CloroCovid-19 trial in Brazil, which was stopped early because people in the higher dosage group suffered more heart problems and died in greater numbers than those in the lower dosage group. Two large randomised trials, RECOVERY and SOLIDARITY, have shown no benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19, changing clinical practice worldwide. Both of these trials used high doses resulting in higher hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine concentrations than normally observed in the treatment of malaria or rheumatological conditions. The results from Watson et al demonstrate that the lack of benefit seen in these two large clinical trials is not due to the drug dosage being too high.

Chloroquine/poisoning , Drug Overdose/mortality , Suicide, Attempted , Suicide , Adult , Antimalarials/administration & dosage , Antimalarials/poisoning , Antimalarials/therapeutic use , Biotransformation , COVID-19 , Chloroquine/administration & dosage , Chloroquine/adverse effects , Chloroquine/analogs & derivatives , Chloroquine/blood , Chloroquine/therapeutic use , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Drug Repositioning , Electrocardiography , Female , Heart Diseases/chemically induced , Heart Diseases/mortality , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/administration & dosage , Hydroxychloroquine/adverse effects , Hydroxychloroquine/poisoning , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Long QT Syndrome/chemically induced , Malaria/drug therapy , Male , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic/statistics & numerical data , Risk Assessment