Times of India, quoting a state government official, said that the government is considering handing out the HCQS tablets as a preventive measure, and that suspected patients kept in quarantine centres in Dharavi are likely to be the first to receive them.
Dharavi reported 15 more Covid-19 cases on Sunday with the novel coronavirus spreading into new slum pockets, where congested living spaces pose a containment challenge.
The latest cases took the total number of cases in Dharavi to 43, and Maharashtra’s state tally to 1,985.
If the state government’s plan goes through, this could become the first time HCQS is used as a preventive measure at the community level.
Health minister Rajesh Tope confirmed this move to ToI. “HCQS is used to treat malaria and there have been instances of it being used in the US as a prophylaxis (preventive medicine) against Covid-19. We plan to use it in areas like Dharavi where the risk of infection is high,” Tope said.
Details such as the number of people, the dosage and the duration of the treatment are being worked out. As of now, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has approved HCQS as preventive medicine for healthcare workers in the country only.
Tope also assured that there was no issue with HCQS supply in the state. “Of course, the whole of Dharavi will not be given the drug. We cannot waste resources like that,” he said. People will be categorized into groups–those in high risk, in government quarantine, and those in contact with positive patients.
Touted by US President Donald Trump as a game-changer” in the fight against Covid, the anti-malarial drug is also being exported to thirteen countries, including the United States.