The Government has decided to expand the use of anti-malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine as prophylactic for asymptomatic healthcare workers as well engaged in fighting COVID-19 coronavirus.

A revised government advisory on Friday recommended use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive medication for asymptomatic healthcare workers working in non-COVID-19 hospitals, frontline staff on surveillance duty in containment zones and paramilitary/police personnel involved in coronavirus infection related activities.

The decision came after the National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 constituted by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) reviewed the use of Hydroxychloroquine or HCQ for prophylaxis of SARS-CoV-2 infection for high-risk population based on the emerging evidence on its safety and efficacy.

As was mentioned in the earlier advisory, the drug against the infection is also recommended for all asymptomatic healthcare workers involved in containment and treatment of COVID-19 and household contacts of laboratory confirmed cases.

The revised advisory issued by the ICMR, however, cautioned that the intake of the medicine should not instill a sense of false security.

Earlier, the Union Health Ministry had stated that HCQ is recommended only under exceptional circumstances and for the protection of high-risk individuals as the drug was found to be effective against Coronavirus only in pre-clinical laboratory studies.

It has recommended not administering the drug to children below the age of 15. People with known case of retinopathy and known hypersensitivity to Hydroxychloroquine or 4-aminoquinoline compounds have been asked not to take the medicine.

Ever since the deadly virus spread across nations, Hydroxychloroquine has become one of the most highly demanded drugs worldwide. India, the world’s main supplier of generic drugs, has been finding it difficult to cope with the requests for Hydroxycholoquine received from nearly 30 nations.