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  • 17 April, 2020

  • 3 Min Read

India to supply hydroxychloroquine

India to supply hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries

India has decided to supply anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries. Government sources said, out of these, 21 countries will get the drug on a commercial basis and other countries will receive it on a grant in very small quantities.

India will soon get COVID19 testing kits from South Korea. Indian missions have also taken quotations for testing kits from vendors in the UK, Malaysia, France, Germany, Japan and the US. They are coordinating with major agencies for PPE kits and the country will soon get a huge consignment of PPE kits.

About Hydroxychloroquine

  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), sold under the brand name Plaquenil among others, is a medication used to prevent and treat malaria in areas where malaria remains sensitive to chloroquine. Other uses include the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Hydroxychloroquine was approved for medical use in the United States in 1955. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.
  • Common side effects include vomiting, headache, changes in vision, and muscle weakness. Severe side effects may include allergic reactions.

Hydroxychloroquine Issue

  • In a study last month in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents (IJAA), French scientists reported: “Twenty cases were treated… and showed a significant reduction of the viral carriage compared to controls, and much lower average carrying duration than reported of untreated patients in the literature. Azithromycin (an antibiotic) added to hydroxychloroquine was significantly more efficient for virus elimination.”
  • The study was flagged as being too small to draw a definitive conclusion. On April 3, the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, which owns the IJAA, said the study did “not meet the society’s expected standard, especially relating to the lack of better explanations of the inclusion criteria and the triage of patients to ensure patient safety”.
  • However, by March 21, Trump had begun to call the drug a “game changer”, and has since been pushing it.
  • At the end of last month, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued an advisory recommending the use of hydroxychloroquine in asymptomatic healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients, and also allowed doctors to prescribe it for household contacts of confirmed COVID-19 patients.
  • However, the government has stressed that the drug can only be used in COVID-19 treatment on prescription and that it should not instil a sense of “false security”.
  • The US has been looking to procure the drug for emergency use. On March 21, Ipca told stock exchanges here that the US Food and Drug Administration had “made an exception” to its import alert against the company so that it could get stocks.
  • India decided to ban exports of the drug on April 4. On Tuesday, the government decided to ease the ban.
  • On April 7, US President Donald Trump tweeted about “retaliation” if India did not heed his request for the drug.
  • Later, India said it would supply to countries that needed it the most, and to neighbours who were “dependent on India’s capabilities”.

Source: AIR

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