The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has recommended using HCQ, or hydroxychloroquine, as a preventive treatment for COVID-19. This drug is a well-known and relatively affordable antimalarial vaccine.
Director-General Balram Bhargava announced this on March 23. He added that HCQ would be provided to the high-risk individuals, and as a prophylactic measure only. The recommendations are not mandatory.
The high-risk category in the COVID-19 outbreak includes healthcare workers and stay-at-home caregivers who are treating infected patients.
If such a person chooses to use HCQ, they still have to remain in quarantine for 14 days and follow strict preventive recommendations.
It is too early to call HCQ the ultimate cure for Coronavirus. Balram Bhargava asked the public to beware “the sense of false security”, and to remain mindful.
ICMR continues to actively test people in India for COVID-19. Almost 18,500 samples are already tested, with more to go.