NEW DELHI: The health ministry on Monday allowed use of anti-malarial drug hydroxy-chloroquine for prevention of Covid-19 only in high-risk cases involving healthcare workers engaged in care of suspected or confirmed patients and asymptomatic household contacts taking care of positive cases.
However, the advisory, which is based on recommendations of national task force for Covid-19, constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research warned states that placing health workers under chemoprophylaxis should not instil a sense of false security and asked health workers to follow prescribed public health measures. These include frequent washing of hands, respiratory etiquette, keeping safe distance of minimum one metre and use of personal protective equipment. It emphasised the anti-malarial drug had been allowed for two categories only for prophylactic or prevention purpose.
The heath ministry reported 433 confirmed cases of Covid-19 till Monday. Of this, 402 were active cases, 23 were cured and one was a migrated case. Besides, there were seven deaths reported.
“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,” ICMR director-general Balram Bhargava said.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has also approved the protocol recommended by the ICMR’s national task force for restricted use in emergency situation.
The advisory said health workers under the prophylaxis must self-monitor their health . Similarly, high risk household contacts of any positive case have been advised to stay in home quarantine while on prophylactic therapy. The drug should only be given under prescription from a registered practitioner, it said.