New Delhi: In a revised advisory issued by the Union health ministry Friday, it recommended the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis, preventive treatment for COVID-19.
The government advisory has recommended the use of HCQ as a preventive for asymptomatic healthcare workers who are working in non-COVID-19 settings and for all asymptomatic health care workers involved in containment and treatment of COVID-19. This includes frontline staff that is in the surveillance duty of containment zones and police/ paramilitary personnel who are involved in COVID-19 infection-related activities.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found that there is a reduction in the chances of getting infected with COVID-19 after the consumption of this drug. However, the body also cautioned that the intake of medicine should not instill a false sense of security.
After reviewing the prophylactic use of HCQ in the context of expanding it to healthcare and other frontline workers deployed in non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 areas, a recommendation was made by the Joint Monitoring Group under the chairmanship of directorate general of health services (DGHS) and including representatives from AIIMS, ICMR, National Centre for Disease Control, National Disaster Management Authority, WHO and experts drawn from central government hospitals.
The revised advisory further stated that at NIV Pune, a report of the in-vitro testing of the drug for antiviral efficacy showcased reduction of infectivity and log reduction in viral RNA copy of SARs-CoV2. Additionally, this drug must be administered under strict medical supervision and that too with informed consent.
Also if any adverse reactions to the usage of HCQ occur the intake must be discontinued (which according to the advisory is quite rare) Furthermore, if anyone becomes symptomatic while on prophylaxis, they should contact the health facility and get tested in accordance to national guidelines and follow the standard treatment protocol.
HCQ is also not used for children under 15 years of age and pregnant individuals.