India Authorizes Hydroxy-Chloroquine For Coronavirus Infection Prevention

Hydroxy-chloroquine approved for asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients

indian women in black scarf

Amid rising coronavirus cases in India, the national task force for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended hydroxy-chloroquine as a preventive medication for high-risk populations.

According to this advisory distributed from New Delhi on March 22, 2020, hydroxy-chloroquine should be given to high-risk population -- asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.

The hydroxy-chloroquine protocol recommended by the National Task Force has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) for restricted use in emergency situations.

"Hydroxy-chloroquine is found to be effective against coronavirus in laboratory studies and in-vivo studies. Its use in prophylaxis is derived from the available evidence of benefit as treatment and supported by preclinical data," the advisory said.

This is good news since there are currently no approved treatments for COVID-19, which is the highly contagious, sometimes fatal, respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

However, hydroxy-chloroquine is not recommended for prophylaxis in children under 15 years of age.

‘If anyone becomes symptomatic while on prophylaxis, they should immediately contact the health facility, get tested as per national guidelines, and follow the standard treatment protocol.’

"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.

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Furthermore, the task force also warned that placing the healthcare workers under chemoprophylaxis should not instill a sense of false security in them and asked them to follow all prescribed public health measures such as frequent washing of hands, respiratory etiquettes, keeping a safe distance of minimum one meter and use of personal protective equipment.

Previously, the government of India issued a statement banning the export of hydroxychloroquine. 

Announced on March 25, 2020, by the Department of Commerce, Directorate General of Foreign Trade, this statement restricts this malaria medicine and any formulations, from being shipped outside of India, except for companies that must fulfill existing contracts and on humanitarian grounds.

The ban came after India curbed the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from them, including Paracetamol - a common pain reliever also sold as acetaminophen, reported the BBC.

In previous news, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on March 24, 2020, it was removing an import ban on Indian pharmaceutical products so that the company could export hydroxychloroquine and the required active pharmaceutical ingredients to make the medicine, to the USA.

COVID-19 medication and vaccine development news published by Precision Vaccinations.