New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the country’s apex body in the field, has found that consuming the drug hydroxychloroquine reduces the chances of getting infected with Covid-19.
As a result, ICMR released an advisory on Friday to expand the usage of HCQ — an anti-malarial drug — as a preventive treatment against the novel coronavirus.
The conclusion has been drawn on the basis of three studies conducted by the ICMR.
The advisory suggests surveillance workers, paramilitary and police personnel, as well as medical staff working in non-Covid hospitals and blocks to start consuming the pill as “preventive therapy”.
ICMR had issued an advisory to begin using HCQ in March, but it had drawn criticism for lacking scientific evidence that the drug works against the novel coronavirus.
According to the advisory, the premier health body undertook investigation at three central government hospitals in New Delhi. While it did not reveal the names of the hospitals, it said the investigation indicates 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”.
The advisory also states that the National Institute of Virology in Pune has found in laboratory testing that HCQ reduces the viral load.