The National Task Force for COVID-19, constituted by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on Monday recommended the use of hydroxy-chloroquine for preventive treatment of healthcare workers and individuals in close contact of coronavirus patients.
The task force has recommended the use of hydroxy-chloroquine for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection for selected individuals, such as asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. The drug may be also used in case of asymptomatic household contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients.
"Hydroxy-chloroquine is found to be effective against coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies. Its use in prophylaxis is derived from available evidence of benefit as treatment and supported by pre-clinical data," ICMR said in its latest report on Monday.
Commenting on the development, ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava said, "Hydroxy-chloroquine is recommended only for a healthcare worker who is treating a Covid 19 patient. Secondly, it's recommended only for persons staying and caring for a household positive patient. They can take that only for prophylaxis, only for prevention."
For healthcare workers, a dose of 400 mg twice a day on day 1, followed by 400 mg once weekly for next 7 weeks, has been prescribed. The medicine has to be taken with meals, as per the report.
The task force has recommended a dose of 400 mg twice a day on day 1, followed by 400 mg once weekly for next 3 weeks for household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases. This has to be taken with meals.
"All asymptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases should remain in home quarantine as per the national guidelines, even if they are on prophylactic therapy," it said.
The drug, however, has not been recommended for prophylaxis in children under 15 years of age. "The drug is contraindicated in persons with known case of retinopathy, known hypersensitivity to hydroxychloroquine, 4-aminoquinoline compounds," the report said.
Meanwhile, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also approved the protocol recommended by the ICMR National Task Force for limited use in crisis situation.
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