In a significant development on Monday, the National Task Force constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research has recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug for the prevention of COVID-19 for high-risk population. This will only apply to asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed novel coronavirus cases and the asymptomatic household contacts of confirmed cases. The protocol states that its use will be restricted to emergency situations.
Moreover, the National Task Force has stressed that the use of this drug should not instill a false sense of security. Also, the high-risk contacts of a confirmed case undergoing this treatment should remain in home quarantine. Moreover, this drug should only be given on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner. If a person gets any other symptoms apart from that of COVID-19, he should immediately seek the treatment of the same medical practitioner who prescribed the drug. Recently, three COVID-19 patients in Rajasthan were successfully cured with a combination of swine flu medicines, the aforesaid drug, and HIV drugs.
The National Task Force COVID19 constituted by ICMR recommends the use of hydroxy-chloroquine for prophylaxis of COVID19 for high-risk cases pic.twitter.com/mhxI55VDc5— ANI (@ANI) March 23, 2020
Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, pediatric nephrologist spoke exclusively to Republic TV on this development. He noted that initial studies were done in China and the US. According to him, initial success was witnessed at the end of 6 days of treatment of hydroxychloroquine. However, he stated that was limited to high-risk cases under the supervision of doctors. Dr. Bagai warned that a lot of patients can have dangerous side-effects if it is taken without supervision.
Currently, there are 415 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus with 7 deaths reported. Earlier, the Centre announced stringent measures to combat the novel Coronavirus crisis. For instance, international flights shall not be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week. Moreover, the Centre has directed the state governments to advise the people below the age of 10 and above the age of 65 to remain at home. The state governments have also been instructed to enforce work from home for private-sector employees barring for those working in emergency or essential services. On March 22, Janta Curfew was observed where people did not come on the road from 7 am to 9 pm. Thereafter, several states extended lockdown to encourage people to stay at home.