New Delhi, May 23

With new Covid infections peaking to record levels for the fifth day today, the Indian Council of Medical Research expanded the use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a preventive drug in all asymptomatic Covid warriors in containment zones and asymptomatic health workers in all hospitals.

The last advisory on HCQ had restricted its use among asymptomatic health workers in care of Covid patients and asymptomatic contacts.

As cases surged to 6,654 in 24 hours, taking the total disease load to 1,25,101 with 3,720 deaths, the ICMR said HCQ should now be given to “all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19; asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-Covid hospitals; asymptomatic frontline workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary and police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities”. “A study of 334 healthcare workers at AIIMS, out of which 248 took HCQ prophylaxis in New Delhi, showed that those taking it had lower incidence of infection than those not taking it,” the ICMR said. — TNS

Who all can have the drug

All asymptomatic healthcare workers, frontline workers, paramilitary and police personnel involved in Covid-related activities and asymptomatic household contacts of confirmed cases

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