Representational image.

Representational image.
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Health Ministry revises the guideline for the use of prophylaxis.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in COVID-19-related activities, in its revised guideline for the use of prophylaxis released on Friday evening.

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The previous advisory issued on April 23 provided placing the high-risk population (asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in the care of suspected or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases) under chemoprophylaxis with HCQ.

The Ministry has noted that studies on the prophylaxis of the SARS-CoV-2 infection at the ICMR has found there is a significant dose-response relationship between the number of prophylactic doses taken and frequency of occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in symptomatic healthcare workers tested for infection.

Another investigation from three Central government hospitals in New Delhi indicates that among healthcare workers involved in COVID-19 care, those on HCQ prophylaxis were less likely to develop infection, compared with those who were not on it.

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The benefit was less pronounced in healthcare workers caring for a general patient population.

An observational prospective study of 334 healthcare workers at the AIIMS, out of which 248 took HCQ prophylaxis (median 6 weeks of follow-up) in New Delhi also showed that those taking HCQ prophylaxis had lower incidence of infection than those not taking it, the guideline noted.

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