HIV drug can replace hydroxychloroquine in Covid defense, Health News, ET HealthWorld


New Delhi: India’s top health research body is reviewing its guidelines for treatment of Covid-19 and may fall hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from the protocol due to growing doubts about its effectiveness, people in the know told ET.

In the revised treatment protocol expected to be released soon, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) is likely to include HIV combined drugs, and FDA approved ivermectin along with supplements of zinc and vitamin C to improve immunity and possibly reduce viral replication, they said.

It now plans to conduct a trial on HCQ’s effectiveness. “The disease is developing, and now that we know that HCQ is not working, it should be removed from the treatment protocol,” a person familiar with the development told ET. “Rather, other drugs that have proven to be effective should be added to the new protocol.” As reported by ET on Monday, with some microbiologists opposed to the use of HCQ for Covid-19, a debate rages among members of the ICMR Task Force to continue with the recommendation.

The members of the Task Force have made their recommendations, ”said one of the sources. “There has been sufficient push back from the microbiologists towards HCQ within the task force.”

Another person said: “Some microbiologists are of the opinion that its use can unnecessarily expose patients to health risks. Therefore, the guidelines for using HCQ can be withdrawn. ”

Used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, HCQ came to light when US President Donald Trump spoke about its effectiveness on Covid-19 patients. Since then, India has withdrawn an export ban on the drug and sent HCQ to many countries, including the United States.

The ICMR and the Department of Health had recommended HCQ as prophylactic for asymptomatic healthcare workers who suspect or confirmed cases of Covid-19 and for asymptomatic household contacts with confirmed cases.

However, some health experts raised ethical questions about the treatment, which lacked clinical evidence of efficacy in the treatment of Covid-19.

A Supreme Court lawsuit (PIL) was filed last month alleging that HCQ and azithromycin combination therapy for Covid-19 patients are likely to pose a serious threat to patients with pre-existing heart disease, as found in US studies and Canada.

To avoid unnecessary medical disasters, the petitioner wanted the court to intervene and ask the government to take important preventive therapeutic measures in the treatment guidelines for Covid-19 patients.

Mumbai health authorities have unconditionally provided HCQ to adults and children in an effort to curb the spread of Covid-19, as ET reported earlier.


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