Anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine is normally used to treat arthritis but several world leaders including US President Donald Trump backed the drug for COVID-19 prevention and treatment, thereby leading governments to bulk-buy.
In fact, India has not only exported HCQ to other countries but recently, also extended the use of the drug for paramilitary and police personnel involved in COVID-19 management.
However, to everyone’s dismay, a recent study has found that taking hydroxychloroquine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 does not prevent that person from getting the disease.
The study involved 821 participants, who had direct exposure to a COVID-19 patient, either being within 6 feet of a sick person for more than 10 minutes while wearing face mask or face shield or none. The participants then were given either a five-day supply of hydroxychloroquine, or a placebo.
Eventually, in the report titled New England Journal of Medicine, 107 of the 821 participants developed the disease. The risk reduction was just 2.4% and Radha Rajasingham, an infectious disease physician at the University of Minnesota, says she would have liked to see at least 30% or more before recommending hydroxychloroquine to asymptomatic patients. In fact, as reported by NPR, hydroxychloroquine can have serious side effects as well.
What’s more? Researchers at the University of Minnesota claim that hydroxychloroquine seems to impair the virus’ ability to infect cells in the lab, albeit its effectiveness in treating hospitalized patients is still an open question.
A Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for Covid-19 | NEJM https://t.co/9QpZGARjaq
— David Boulware, MD MPH (@boulware_dr) June 3, 2020
For the unversed, as per the recent development, the World Health Organization has also decided to resume its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the coronavirus as several health workers decided to not give it to new patients over health concerns. WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in online media briefing, “The executive group will communicate with the principal investigators in the trial about resuming the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial.” Furthermore, WHO’s chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, added, “We owe it to patients to have a definitive answer on whether or not a drug works.”
Well, what happens on that front is still left to be seen! The coronavirus has infected more than 6.43 million worldwide.
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