Sunday, May 24, 2020

India's NIH (the ICMR) expands the use of hydroxychloroquine to all frontline health workers, police, etc.

I hope you have noticed that while the mass media have spent 2 months railing about the dangers of hydroxychloroquine and how it may kill you, they have had a hard time finding doctors to issue the alarm on-camera.  Practicing doctors usually know that the risks of HCQ are no greater than the risk of other drugs they prescribe routinely, making it hard to utter dire warnings. 
And now, India's official medical research arm has reported on 3 studies of HCQ prophylaxis it conducted.  They think the drug is safe enough to use for prevention, and they think it works.  So, the ICMR has expanded its recommendations for hydroxychloroquine as a Covid preventive:  now recommending it for all first responders and medical personnel, unless there is a medical contraindication:
"The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued revised guidelines for use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), the malaria drug, as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers in non-Covid-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection related activities.
"The Joint Monitoring Group and the NTF have recommended prophylactic use of HCQ in asymptomatic frontline workers, such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in Covid-19 related activities, asymptomatic household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases and all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of Covid-19 and working in non-Covid hospitals/non-Covid areas of Covid hospitals/blocks," the ICMR said, here on Saturday (23 May)."
The recommendation was made after the Joint Monitoring Group under the Chairmanship of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and including representatives from AIIMS, ICMR, National Centre for Disease Control, National Disaster Management Authority, WHO and experts drawn from central government hospitals reviewed the prophylactic use of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the context of expanding it to healthcare and other frontline workers deployed in non-COVID-19 and COVID-19 areas.
Three new categories - all asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-COVID hospitals/areas of COVID hospitals/blocks, asymptomatic frontline workers such as surveillance workers deployed in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in COVID-19 related activities - have now been included.
According to the revised advisory, "at NIV, Pune, the report of the in-vitro testing of HCQ for antiviral efficacy showed reduction of infectivity and log reduction in viral RNA copy of SARs-CoV2".
"The drug is contraindicated in persons with known case of retinopathy, hypersensitivity to HCQ and cardiac rhythm disorders," it said.
Dr. Peter Breggin, psychiatrist and author, saved me a lot of work by compiling additional information on the safety and efficacy of hydroxychloroquine.  His article can be read here.  Is the purpose of the media warnings to keep us scared out of our minds about this virus, which may actually be quite treatable?  And preventable?  
I am now taking vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc, and will be adding hydroxychloroquine at the first sign of a virus. I will continue to be careful, but with convincing reports that 90% of cases are asymptomatic (and presumably, though not certainly, will become immune with no illness at all) I am finished being scared.

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