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Re-purposed hydroxychloroquine being used for mild, moderate cases: Vardhan

Re-purposed hydroxychloroquine being used for mild, moderate cases: Vardhan

New Delhi: Re-purposed hydroxychloroquine is being used for mild but high risk and moderate COVID-19 cases, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

According to the data shared by the minister, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has increased the production of hydroxychloroquine manifold and the health ministry has issued 10.84 crore tablets of the drug to states and union territories as on September 11. "India has also exported it (hydroxychloroquine) to more than 140 countries," Vardhan said.

He also said there is a plan to conduct trial of ayurvedic medicines such as aswagandha, guduchi, pippali etc to prevent people from getting infected from COVID-19.

The minister said no specific antivirals have been proven effective so far and symptomatic treatment for fever and cough, appropriate rehydration, supplemental oxygen therapy remains the mainstay of treatment. "We have re-purposed the drug hydroxychloroquine for mild (but high-risk cases) and for moderate cases. This was done with limited scientific evidence but well acknowledging that this drug has been used widely in India for other ailments where it is used for prolonged periods of time, with good safety profile," Vardhan said.

The government has also made provisions for investigational therapies and has also been made for using Remdesivir, Convalescent plasma and Tocilizumab for managing severe cases under close medical supervision, he said.

There are thirteen clinical trials of repurposed drugs and harnessing of traditional knowledge using the modern medicine approach are building a portfolio of therapeutic options for COVID-19 patients.

Phase 2 clinical trial of immunomodulator Sepsivac has been completed successfully and clinical trial of the first-ever phytopharmaceutical ACQH is underway, the minister said.

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