Post-exposure prophylaxis against SARS-CoV-2 in close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases (CORIPREV): study protocol for a cluster-randomized trial
Tan DHS., Chan AK., Jüni P., Tomlinson G., Daneman N., Walmsley S., Muller M., Fowler R., Murthy S., Press N., Cooper C., Lee T., Mazzulli T., McGeer A.
Background: Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is a well-established strategy for the prevention of infectious diseases, in which recently exposed people take a short course of medication to prevent infection. The primary objective of the COVID-19 Ring-based Prevention Trial with lopinavir/ritonavir (CORIPREV-LR) is to evaluate the efficacy of a 14-day course of oral lopinavir/ritonavir as PEP against COVID-19 among individuals with a high-risk exposure to a confirmed case. Methods: This is an open-label, multicenter, 1:1 cluster-randomized trial of LPV/r 800/200 mg twice daily for 14 days (intervention arm) versus no intervention (control arm), using an adaptive approach to sample size calculation. Participants will be individuals aged > 6 months with a high-risk exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case within the past 7 days. A combination of remote and in-person study visits at days 1, 7, 14, 35, and 90 includes comprehensive epidemiological, clinical, microbiologic, and serologic sampling. The primary outcome is microbiologically confirmed COVID-19 infection within 14 days after exposure, defined as a positive respiratory tract specimen for SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction. Secondary outcomes include safety, symptomatic COVID-19, seropositivity, hospitalization, respiratory failure requiring ventilator support, mortality, psychological impact, and health-related quality of life. Additional analyses will examine the impact of LPV/r on these outcomes in the subset of participants who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 at baseline. To detect a relative risk reduction of 40% with 80% power at α = 0.05, assuming the secondary attack rate in ring members (p0) = 15%, 5 contacts per case and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC) = 0.05, we require 110 clusters per arm, or 220 clusters overall and approximately 1220 enrollees after accounting for 10% loss-to-follow-up. We will modify the sample size target after 60 clusters, based on preliminary estimates of p0, ICC, and cluster size and consider switching to an alternative drug after interim analyses and as new data emerges. The primary analysis will be a generalized linear mixed model with logit link to estimate the effect of LPV/r on the probability of infection. Participants who test positive at baseline will be excluded from the primary analysis but will be maintained for additional analyses to examine the impact of LPV/r on early treatment. Discussion: Harnessing safe, existing drugs such as LPV/r as PEP could provide an important tool for control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Novel aspects of our design include the ring-based prevention approach, and the incorporation of remote strategies for conducting study visits and biospecimen collection. Trial registration: This trial was registered at www.ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT04321174) on March 25, 2020.