Use of HCQ in Covid-19 cases defended, to continue

New Delhi: NITI Aayog member V.K. Paul, here on Thursday, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had recommended hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as prophylaxis with full responsibility, and as per the clinical protocol the drug might be used for therapeutics also.

The World Health Organisation was not the only platform where the drug was being tried, he said responding to a media query on the government’s stand on use of HCQ in the Covid-19 cases as WHO had suspended its solidarity trial on Tuesday.

“It’s not just WHO solidarity test where the HCQ is being tried. Many countries are also doing trials. Its effect in tissue culture is well known and benefits outweigh risks, if any. We with full responsibility have recommended HCQ and given guidelines for its use. We should continue using the drug with precautions prescribed in the guidelines.

“We will also use it in treatment as per the clinical protocol. Have faith. We will also revise the guidelines as we keep getting relevant data,” Paul said.

ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava on Tuesday had said India would continue to use HCQ as prophylaxis despite its suspension from the solidarity trial of Covid-19.

Paul also mentioned a few more medicines and therapies, which are in advance stage of trial for Covid-19. They are Favipiravir, Itolizumab, Phytopharmaceutical (a plant-based drug), Microbacterium W, convalescent plasma, Arbidol, ACQH, HCQ, Remdesivir and BCG vaccine.

Scientists are studying these drugs and therapies, both in and out of the solidarity trial.

On May 26, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had announced “a temporary pause” in clinical trial of HCQ on Covid-19 patients, while the safety data of the anti-malaria drug was being reviewed.

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