No WHO Bar On India Testing Hydroxychloroquine As Preventive

hydroxychloroquine
Source: nbcnews

HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) is a prevalent anti-malarial drug. Recently, it has gained a lot of significance because it can be a potential cure for Coronavirus. The Solidarity Trial conducted by WHO found Hydroxychloroquine as a potential drug against Covid 19. The WHO ‘Solidarity Trial’ was undertaken to test Remdesivir, Ritonavir, Interferon beta-1a, and Hydroxychloroquine against Covid 19.

Increased Popularity Of Hydroxychloroquine

A few studies conducted in France and South-Korea have shows that the administration of Hydroxychloroquine can help reducing viral loads. And can help control a hyperactive immune system. Some other studies have suggested that Hydroxychloroquine can is a preventive drug against Covid-19.  Therefore, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) recommended Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylactic treatment for frontline workers.  The ICMR made Hydroxychloroquine mandatory for frontline workers. Such as Doctors, Nurses, and other healthcare workers.  Recently, the Government of India extended the use of Hydroxychloroquine for Policy and Para-Military forces as well. 

The popularity of Hydroxychloroquine raised further after the US President, Donald Trump claimed it a treatment for Covid 19. He admitted that he is taking Hydroxychloroquine for preventing Covid 19.

But the experts have always cautioned about the efficacy and safety of Hydroxychloroquine. There is no scientific proof that Hydroxychloroquine is efficacious against Covid 19. Further, administering Hydroxychloroquine could be potentially dangerous. Hydroxychloroquine may cause Cardiac Arrhythmia and Retinopathy. Also, it can create a severe impact on cardiac functioning.  In several cases, Hydroxychloroquine has caused severe liver damage.

Moratorium Placed By WHO

Du to these concerns and doubts regarding the efficacy and safety of Hydroxychloroquine, several doctors are skeptical of administering Hydroxychloroquine against Covid 19. A few days ago, WHO placed a moratorium on the testing of Hydroxychloroquine as a part of ‘Solidarity Trials.’ WHO decided to stop testing Hydroxychloroquine as a part of these trials because it recognized the severe side-effects of the drug. However, WHO has clarified that India can continue using Hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug, but the moratorium on testing applies only its usage as a treatment for Covid 19.

Randomized Clinical Trials Instead Of Observational Studies

Various studies conducted all over the world show that usage of Hydroxychloroquine on Covid 19 patients can be life-threatening. But its usage as preventive drugs can be continued because the studies have not demonstrated any severe side-effects. To establish efficacy and safety of Hydroxychloroquine, the WHO  called upon all the countries to rely upon RCTs (Randomized Clinical Trials) instead of relying upon Observational Studies. Because in Observational Studies, there is not Control Group to compare the results. WHO recognized RCTs as a legitimate way of establishing the efficacy and safety of a drug.

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