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ICMR has issued a revised advisory on use of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine. The drug against the infection is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of COVID-19. The revised advisory issued by the ICMR however, cautioned that the intake of the medicine should not instil a sense of false security.

A revised government advisory has recommended use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-COVID-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection-related activities.

As was mentioned in the earlier advisory, the drug against the infection is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of COVID-19 and household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases.

The recommendation was made after the Joint Monitoring Group under the Chairmanship of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and including representatives from AIIMS, ICMR, National Centre for Disease Control, National Disaster Management Authority, WHO and experts drawn from central government hospitals reviewed the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the context of expanding it to healthcare and other frontline workers deployed in non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 areas.

Another investigation from three central government hospitals in New Delhi 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. However, as per the data from the Pharma covigilance programme of India, there have been 214 reported instances of adverse drug reactions associated with prophylactic HCQ use.

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