HCQ should be used for COVID-19, said ICMR after WHO alert
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No major side-effects of antimalarial drug Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) have been found in studies in India and its use can be continued in preventive treatment for Covid-19 under strict medical supervision, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on 26 May 2020.

• The ICMR’s statement came against the backdrop of the World Health Organization (WHO) temporarily suspending the testing of the drug as a potential treatment for Covid-19 over safety concerns.

“The Covid-19 is an evolving field and we do not know which drug is working and which is not working. Lots of drugs are being repurposed for Covid-19, whether for prophylaxis or for treatment of the disease.

• “During these six weeks, we got some data in India, mainly observational studies and some case-control studies. We found there were no major side effects except for nausea, vomiting, palpitation occasionally.

• "Hence in our advisory, we’ve recommended that it should be continued for prophylaxis as there is no harm. The benefit may be there,” ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said at a press briefing.

• He said it has been “clearly advised that HCQ should be taken with food, not on empty stomach”.

• “We also emphasized that one ECG should be done during the treatment. We expanded the use of HCQ from healthcare workers to front-line workers also, considering the potential benefits,” he added.

• Investigation from three central government hospitals here 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.

• Besides, an observational prospective study of 334 healthcare workers at AIIMS, out of which 248 took HCQ prophylaxis (median 6 weeks of follow-up) here also showed that those taking it had a lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 than those not taking it.

Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/no-major-side-effects-of-hcq-in-studies-in-india-can-be-used-as-preventive-covid-treatment-icmr/story-EflWWnPlVu0FHhV1OH1xoM.html
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May 27, 2020Like4