NEW DELHI, March 27: The health experts in India staunchly believe that hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug, is currently the only remedy against the novel coronavirus, while also pointing towards its underlying side effects.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has approved the use of hydroxychloroquine as a preventive drug for coronavirus, which has infected hundreds of people till now.
India has declared it an essential drug and restricted its sale and distribution. It can now only be sold on prescription.
Medical Director of LNJP Hospital, Kishore Singh told IANS, "Hydrochloroquine is only remedy available with us right now. As compared to other chloroquine, it is much safer but has very well-documented side-effects."
He said that its intake can cause vomiting, hyperglycemia, hypothyroidism, optic neuropathy and hepatotoxicity.
Many countries, including the US, are using Hydroxychloroquine as a life-saving measure amid the wide-spread coronavirus outbreak.
Singh further said that the testing for coronavirus was being done on a war-footing in the country. "Our country has raked up the capacity and availability of test kits."
He said that additional kits have also been called from China and South Korea, which will make testing cheaper.
Singh added, "The cost of testing will drop from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,500 on the arrival of new kits. They will come in India by next week."
The doctor further urged people to take basic precautionary measures to contain the spread of virus during the three-week lockdown.
"Keeping a safe distance and not touching the face are enough to save yourself from the virus." Old people, children and people with underlying diseases should take extra measures because of weak immune system, he added.
Singh advised people to use soap instead of sanitiser and dispose of their masks before entering into the house. "They should be put in a bag and burnt."
The pandemic has effectively brought normal life to a screeching halt. The total number of cases have crossed the 700 mark. - IANS