hydroxychloroquine Current Affairs - 2020

ICMR to replace HCQ with anti-HIV drug; Kangra Tea Suggested

The Indian Council of Medical Research recently revised its advisories on Hydroxychloroquine. The Council is considering to replace the drug with anti-HIV drugs.


The HCQ drug was recommended for asymptomatic health care workers. However, the ineffectiveness and side effects of the drug is making the council look into alternatives. The assessment of using HCQ by the Task Force says that front line workers working against COVID-19 are facing side effects such as nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting. This has made the council look for alternates to the drug.

The anti-HIV drugs are being recommended to replace HCQ. Apart from these drugs, the Kangra Tea has also been suggested.

Kangra Tea

Kangra Tea is a tea variety from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The tea received GI tag in 2005.

The Kangra Tea is a Chinese variety called Camelia sinensis that was first planted in 1848. The 1905 earthquake and its damages forced the British to close several of the KAngra Tea factories in the region. Later, it was replenished in 2012.

Advisory on use of Hydroxychloroquine revised

On May 23, 2020, the Indian Council of Medical Research has revised its advisory on the use of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine). Under the new advisory guidelines, the HCQ should be given only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.


The advisory was issued after the Joint Monitoring Group held its meeting. The meeting was attended by ICMR, NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control), WHO (World Health Organization) and National Disaster Management Authority.

New Advisory

The new advisories included the following

  • The advisory has included three new categories to whom HCQ shall be prescribed as prophylactic treatment. They are as follows
    • Asymptomatic Health care workers working in non-COVID hospitals
    • Asymptomatic frontline workers that include workers employed in containment zones
    • Paramilitary and police personnel
  • The In-Vitro testing of HCQ has showed reduction of infectivity of COVID-19.
  • The drug is not prescribed for children under 15 years of age.
  • The use of HCQ on high risk population has also been revised.
  • The drug has to be provided only through prescription of a medical practitioner. Initially the use of the drug was allowed in asymptomatic patients without prescriptions.

Why were the advisories revised?

The data on assessment of using HCQ as prophylactic treatment says the following

  • Around 1,323 health care workers faced mild adverse effects
  • Some faced nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain.
  • Some other health care worker faced cardio-vascular effects as well.