India giving a supply of HCQ tablets to Afghanistan
India giving a supply of HCQ tablets to Afghanistan

The fears around how hydroxychloroquine resulting in more deaths in the United States has spread panic in India as well. While #hydroxychloroquine was one of the top trends in the United Startes, #hydroxychloroquineindia began trending as well.

India is one of the countries besides the United States, United Kingdon, France, the Dominican Republic Afghanistan and Jordan, just to name a few to allow the use of hydroxychloroquine tablets. India, the world’s largest producer of the drug, has sent tonnes of tablets to the US, UK, and SAARC nations in the past two weeks.

While there is no scientific evidence that the drug is the one-stop solution to cure the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there is proof that it can be used in treating viral infections.

According to infectious disease expert Dr Deepak Chaturvedi, hydroxychloroquine through various mechanisms like blocking the interaction of the virus to the ACE2 receptors may work in blunting the progression of the disease.

“However, studies aren’t consistent,” Dr Chaturvedi explains. “Some studies show favourable results, some neutral and others show negative trends. And the sudden endorsement of the drug by several governments as the ‘miracle treatment’ has led to unsupervised use of this medicine, which has resulted in adverse effects of the drug, most of which are cardiac arrests.”

Stating that if a patient has certain metabolic or cardiac conditions, then the drug should not be administered at all. “Certain individuals are already on other drugs, which when administered with hydroxychloroquine, can be detrimental,” he added.

There are other drugs that can cause a neutral effect on HCQ. Over the top antacids, for example, can stop HCQ from being absorbed. And while one of the side-effects of HCQ is nausea, it’s recommended that you have the antacid only 3-4 hours after having the medicine.

Dr Chaturvedi laments the lack of time to do clinical trials as the pandemic spread at such rapid rate. “As a result, the best thing to do is follow the principle of

“Blocking of the transmission Chain” and “Flatten the curve” to get the time to find the best medicine and best vaccine. The way of life will definitely play huge role in fighting Corona Covid 19 and any other such epidemic in the future.

Besides HCQ, medicines such as Azithromycin, Remdesivir, Toclizumab, Leronlimab, Sarilumab, Ivermection, Immunoglobulins (from plasma) are being used to treat COVID-19.

According to ICMR, In case of suspected or confirmed cases, the dose, according to the task force, comprises 400 mg twice a day on Day 1, followed by 400 mg once week for the next seven weeks. In case of asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases, the dose is 400 mg twice a day on Day 1, followed by 400 mg once weekly for the next three weeks.

The World Health Organisation had originally decided to rule out hydroxychloroquine during its trial, but had a change of heart after several nations began advocating it. Many studies on the drug have said that the drug does have some activity against COVID-19, but the high doses could cause ‘serious toxicities in the body.’

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