Task Force for Covid-19
Amid the spread of novel coronavirus infections showing no sign of abating, the National Task Force for Covid-19, set up by ICMR, on 23 March 2020 recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of high-risk cases. Hydroxychloroquine is only for healthcare workers, and persons caring for COVID-19 patients in households, the Indian Council of Medical Research clarified. This procedure has been okayed by Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for "restricted use in emergency situations". As per the advisory, the patients to be put under chemoprophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine include:
- Asymptomatic healthcare workers involved the care of suspected patients;
- Asymptomatic household contacts of confirmed cases
The task force also mandated a host of strict guidelines to be followed while using this procedure. These include:
- Healthcare workers under chemoprophylaxis should not be complacent and should make it a point to adhere to all other cautionary measures such as washing hands, maintaining safe distance, etc.
- They must keep tabs on their own health and report as soon as symptoms become present.
- Contacts of positive cases under chemoprophylaxis must remain under home quarantine while on therapy.
- Should be administered only under prescription of registered medical practitioner.
- If the person in question develops any other symptoms than those of Covid-19, s/he should immediately seek treatment of the doctor who prescribed the procedure.
- The point to note here is that this recommendation is only for high-risk cases, and not for general use and one must not self-administer.
- Hydroxychloroquine is only for prevention, the ICMR chief clarified immediately after the task force's recommendation.