Govt expands use of HCQ to curb COVID-19 transmission

Vikash Aiyappa

New Delhi, May 23: The government has issued an advisory expansing the pool of people to given the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to prevent them from contracting coronavirus.

The Joint Monitoring Group and national Task Force have now recommended the prophylactic use of HCQ in the following categories:

a) all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-covid hospitals/non-covid areas of covid hospitals/blocks;

b) Asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities; and

c) Asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

Lancet study finds no benefit for hydroxychloroquine in COVID-19 patients

A retrospective case-control analysis at ICMR has found that there is a significant dose-response relationship between the number of prophylactic doses taken and frequency of occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 [that causes covid-19] infection in symptomatic healthcare workers who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Another investigation from 3 central government hospitals in New Delhi indicates that amongst healthcare workers involved in covid-19 care, those on HCQ prophylaxis were less likely to develop SARS-CoV-2 infection, compared to those who were not on it, the advisory by the Union Health Ministry said.

At National Institute of Virology, Pune, the report of the in-vitro testing of HCQ for antiviral efficacy showed reduction of infectivity/log reduction in viral RNA copy of SARs-CoV2, the Health Ministry further noted.

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