Trial of Early Antiviral Therapies during Non-hospitalized Outpatient Window (TREAT NOW) for COVID-19: a summary of the protocol and analysis plan for a decentralized randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2022 Apr 8;23(1):273. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06213-z.


Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has a heterogeneous outcome in individuals from remaining asymptomatic to death. In a majority of cases, mild symptoms are present that do not require hospitalization and can be successfully treated in the outpatient setting, though symptoms may persist for a long duration. We hypothesize that drugs suitable for decentralized study in outpatients will have efficacy among infected outpatients METHODS: The TREAT NOW platform is designed to accommodate testing multiple agents with the ability to incorporate new agents in the future. TREAT NOW is an adaptive, blinded, multi-center, placebo-controlled superiority randomized clinical trial which started with two active therapies (hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir) and placebo, with the hydroxychloroquine arm dropped shortly after enrollment began due to external evidence. Each arm has a target enrollment of 300 participants who will be randomly assigned in an equal allocation to receive either an active therapy or placebo twice daily for 14 days with daily electronic surveys collected over days 1 through 16 and on day 29 to evaluate symptoms and a modified COVID-19 ordinal outcome scale. Participants are enrolled remotely by telephone and consented with a digital interface, study drug is overnight mailed to study participants, and data collection occurs electronically without in-person interactions.

Discussion: If effective treatments for COVID-19 can be identified for individuals in the outpatient setting before they advance to severe disease, it will prevent progression to more severe disease, reduce the need for hospitalization, and shorten the duration of symptoms. The novel decentralized, "no touch" approach used by the TREAT NOW platform has distinction advantages over traditional in-person trials to reach broader populations and perform study procedures in a pragmatic yet rigorous manner.

Trial registration: NCT04372628. Registered on April 30, 2020. First posted on May 4, 2020.

Keywords: Antiviral; COVID-19; Outpatient; Protocol; Randomized; Remote.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • COVID-19 Drug Treatment*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Hydroxychloroquine / adverse effects
  • Outpatients
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hydroxychloroquine

Associated data