India to continue with hydroxychloroquine drug despite WHO reservations

A day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised concern over hydroxychloroquine drug for treating Covid 19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that India will continue the use of the drug in treating the deadly virus.

The WHO had the other day temporarily suspended the trial of hydroxycholoroquine, a drug that was recommended against Coronavirus. The drug was suspended following safety concerns. Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said that the drug was first recommended in March based on in-vitro studies which showed it had antiviral properties. He also said that the drug was found to be effective with lesser side effects.

The Director said that the drug was recommended for treating Covid 19 taking into account its biological plausibility, in-vitro data and availability. As such the drug was recommended under strict medical supervision, Bhargava said.

He said that observational studies were done at AIIMS and case control study at ICMR. The studies were also done at three Delhi public hospitals.  The hydroxychloroquine drug was found to be working with no major side effects, except nausea, vomiting and some palpitations.

The Director General said that the government’s advisory with respect to expanding the use of the drug to frontline workers such as paramilitary and police personnel was based on “risk-benefit analysis”.

Bhargava pointed out that the drug should not be denied to healthcare and frontline workers who are dealing with patients hit with Covid 19.


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