ICMR approves anti-malarial drug HCQ for healthcare and frontline workers
In its revised advisory, IMCR has approved the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a preventive therapy against Coronavirus to asymptomatic health workers and asymptomatic frontline workers.
New Delhi: Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued a revised advisory, saying that consumption of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine reduces chances of getting infected with Coronavirus.
In its revised advisory, it has approved the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a preventive therapy against Coronavirus to asymptomatic health workers in non-COVID hospitals and non-COVID blocks in COVID hospitals and asymptomatic frontline workers engaged in surveillance work in containment zones.
The decision came after the National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reviewed the use of HCQ for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection for high-risk population.
The NTF recommended the prophylactic use of HCQ in the following categories-
1) 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
2) Asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in COVID-19 related activities
3) Asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.
The drug is not recommended for prophylaxis in children under 15 years of age and in pregnancy and lactation, the advisory said. Rarely the drug causes cardiovascular side effects such as cardiomyopathy and rhythm (heart rate) disorders, it said.
Hydroxychloroquine is an anti-malarial drug that is also used to treat other auto immune diseases. It shot to prominence recently after receiving an endorsement from US President Donald Trump as a potential cure to the coronavirus.