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Last Updated : Mar 23, 2020 06:27 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

ICMR recommends use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloriquine for treating high-risk COVID-19 patients

The high risk population who would be eligible for getting the drug include asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

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The National Task Force for COVID-19 constituted by Indian Council of Medical Research on March 23 recommended the use of antimalarial drug hydroxychloriquine for treatment of high-risk COVID-19 patients.

The high risk population who would be eligible for getting the drug include asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

ICMR said there is no shortage of hydroxychloroquine medication.

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The protocol recommended by the National Task Force has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for restricted use in emergency situations.

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The task force however warned that placing of healthcare workers under chemoprophylaxis should not instill a sense of false security.

"They should follow all prescribed public health measures such as frequent washing of hands, respiratory etiquettes, keeping a distance of minimum 1 metre and use of personal protective equipment wherever applicable," the advisory said.

"They should self-monitor their health and report to health authorities immediately in the event of them becoming symptomatic," the advirosry added.

The task force also recommended states that high risk contacts of a positive case placed under chemoprophylaxis, should remain in home quarantine while on prophylactic therapy.

The task force strictly recommended that the drug shuold only be given on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner and the contraindications mentioned in the recommendations should strictly be followed.

"Apart form the symptoms of COViD-19 such as fever, cough, breathing difficulty, if the person on chemoprophylaxis develops any other symptoms, he should immediately seek medical treatment of the medical practitioner who has prescribed the chemoprophylaxis," the advisory said.

The National Task force constitutes Secretary, Department of Health Research, Director General (DG), ICMR and is Chaired by Prof VK Paul, Member, Niti Aayog.

Chloroquine, the 70-year-old widely used anti-malarial medicine. It has been found to be a potential broad-spectrum antiviral drug.

More than 10 companies sell Chloroquine in India including Ipca, Bayer, Merck, Novartis, FDC and Zydus Cadila.

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First Published on Mar 23, 2020 06:27 pm
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