ICMR okays HCQ for healthcare, frontline workers; Lancet says drug could lead to cardiac arrest in Covid-19 patients
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has found that taking hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) reduces the chances of getting infected with Covid-19. This comes just when recent research reports have suggested limited or no benefits of HCQ, but increased cardiac risks in Covid-19 patients.
India's premier health research body has revised its guidelines to expand the usage of this anti-malarial drug as a preventive treatment against the novel coronavirus. The ICMR revised its recommendations to use HCQ for Covid-19 after ethical questions were raised about the therapy.
The guidelines have been revised after March 23, when the ICMR recommended use of HCQ as prophylaxis on healthcare workers treating Covid-19 patients as front liners who would be getting affected by the virus. But it had drawn criticism for lacking scientific evidence that the drug works against the novel coronavirus.
The research body undertook an investigation at three central government hospitals in New Delhi. The investigation indicated 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.
Another observational study was conducted among 334 healthcare workers at the country's largest public hospital, New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The 248 workers who took HCQ as preventive drug for an average of six weeks had lower incidence of the infection than those not taking the pill.
Based on the findings of the studies, the ICMR along with the recommending national task force, has decided to administer ...
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