By Priyanka Sharma, July 29 (ANI): The Union health ministry made the biggest allocation of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) tablets since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in India by distributing 4.24 crore medicines to the states and Union Territories.
HCQ is an anti-malarial drug that is also used to treat other autoimmune diseases.
Currently, the drug is being used for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and is recommended as a prophylaxis of the virus as per the national taskforce for COVID-19.
“Last Saturday, the government made the biggest allotment order for distribution of 4.24 crore HCQ drugs to the states and Union Territories for their use. This is the largest distribution so far since the beginning of the virus pandemic. States have to use these HCQ tablets for the treatment of COVID-19 patients and as prophylaxis,” informed a senior health ministry official.
He added that the previous allocations were smaller and done as per the requirement of the states. He also informed that the government has a huge buffer stock of HCQ, and hence such allocations are being done.
According to the clinical management protocol for COVID-19, the HCQ has been described as ‘repurposed or off-label therapy.’ It has also been noted that HCQ has demonstrated in vitro activity against SARS-CoV2 and was shown to be clinically beneficial in several small single centre studies, though with significant limitations.
“This drug (HCQ) should be used as early in the disease course as possible to achieve any meaningful effects and should be avoided in patients with severe disease. An ECG should ideally be done before prescribing the drug to measure QTc interval (and HCQ avoided if QTc is >500 ms). The dose should be given 400 mg twice on day 1 followed by 400mg daily for the next 4 days,” stated clinical management protocol for COVID-19.