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Maharashtra Coronavirus News: Maharashtra can deliver anti-malaria drugs as preventive medicine | India News


MUMBAI: Concerned that Covid-19 cases may increase exponentially in the city’s densely populated slums, the Maharashtra government is considering administering hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets (HCQS) as a “preventive medicine” for residents of slums with higher risk of infection.
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A senior state government official said suspicious patients kept in quarantine centers in Dharavi would likely be the first to receive HCQS, an antimalarial drug that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, wanted India to supply to the US. USA “in the fight against Covid-19.” In places like Dharavi, the plan is more of a sociodemographic compulsion, “said the state government official.
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If state plans are followed, it could be the first time that HCQS is used as Covid-19 prophylaxis at the community level.
Confirming the move, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said: “HCQS is used to treat malaria and there have been cases of use in the United States as preventive medicine against Covid-19. We plan to use it in areas like Dharavi where the risk of infection is high. ”
Details such as number of people, dose and duration of treatment are being worked out.
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Currently, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approves HCQS as preventive medicine only for healthcare workers.
Dr. Subhash Salunkhe, state technical adviser on pandemic control, said: “There is adequate medical literature to demonstrate that the use of HCQS will have definite advantages at this stage.” He added that the HCQS plan will have strict exclusion criteria as known to affect the heart and retina.
Tope also said there is no problem with the supply of HCQS in the state. “Of course, all Dharavi will not be given the drug. “We cannot waste resources like this,” he said. People will be classified into groups: those at high risk, those in government quarantine, and those in contact with positive patients.
HCQS is not only used to treat malaria, but is routinely prescribed for patients with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Dr Om Srivastava, an infectious disease specialist, said: “HCQS has a role as a preventative medicine in Covid, as it can modulate the immune system.” Dr. Shashank Joshi, dean of the Indian College of Physicians, said: “There has been no clinical trial to prove that HCQS works, but it could prevent a cytokine storm in mild to moderate cases.”
TOI has learned that the state will send a formal proposal to the Center and ICMR within a day or two. “Once the documentation is in place, we will distribute tablets to people in the quarantine centers in Dharavi,” said an official.
Health officials are concerned that cases may spread rapidly in densely populated areas. Another official said that if the drug works well in Dharavi, “we might consider using it in other pockets as well.”
Both Tope and Dr. Salunkhe declined to give details such as how many people would receive the medication and when the treatment will begin. But sources said the HCQS plan has already been discussed with the Covid national workforce team.
“ In India, HCQS is suggested as a preventive medicine or for those with mild symptoms. In the United States, they want to use it for seriously ill patients, but there is little evidence to suggest that it works in such cases, “said a doctor at a public hospital.

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