In a major decision, the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s Executive Group, on Monday, has decided to temporarily pause the Hydroxychlorine (HCQ) trial while the data collected so far is reviewed, announced WHO chief Dr. Tedros in a press briefing. He added that the Executive Group's solidarity trial comprising of 10 countries will adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug. Clarifying that the other arms of the trial were continuing, he added that the drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, were generally safe for treating patients of autoimmune diseases or malaria.
Meanwhile, ICMR recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-COVID-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones, and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection-related activities. It is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of COVID-19 and household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases. ICMR is currently still studying the efficacy of the drug and has not recommended it for treating COVID-19 patients.
Earlier on Friday, India's Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took over as WHO Executive Board Chairman at the 147th session of the WHO Executive Board, held virtually. India was among 10 nations that were elected by the 73rd World Health Assembly to the Executive Board of the WHO for a period of three years. The other new members include Botswana, Colombia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Oman, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom.
One of the primary functions of the Board is to implement the decisions and policies of the WHA and facilitate its work. The chairman of the board is selected on a rotational basis for one year among regional groups, whereas the WHA is the decision making body of the WHO. The same board met on Saturday and has decided to pause the trial as data gets reviewed by the Safety Monitoring Board.