Even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) halted the hydroxychloroquine arm of its COVID-19 drug trials on Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) today said that there were no major side-effects of the malaria drug found in the studies in India. It further gave a go-ahead on the usage of the drug under “strict medical supervision.”
“A lot of drugs are being repurposed for COVID-19. Taking biological plausibility, in-vitro data, and safety of this drug (HCQ), we recommend it under strict medical supervision. Based on risk-benefit we found that possibly we should not deny our health workers from using it,” the ICMR Director-General said at a media briefing today.
Earlier on Monday, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had announced the suspension of trials saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date. “The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity trial while the safety data is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board. The other arms of the trial are counting,” Tedros had said at an online briefing.