The government has banned the export of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine with immediate effect to ensure adequate availability of the drug in the domestic market in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
- “The export of hydroxychloroquine and hydroxychloroquine making components has been stopped with immediate effect,” said a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce. However, in the notification, it is stated that the government will allow the export of the drug on a humanitarian basis on the recommendation of the Ministry of External Affairs.
- It is important that Balram Bhargava, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat health workers caring for suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.
- Hydroxy chloroquine (different from the anti-malarial drug chloroquine) is an oral medication used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. US President Donald Trump tweeted on 21 March about the use of a cocktail of hydroxy chloroquine-azithromycin to protect against corona after which the drug was used.
- On 19 March, in an article written in The Lancet Global Health, the benefits of this medicine and its ability to fight diseases were explained. This drug in particular exhibits antiviral activity against coronavirus.
- The specific effect of this drug is SARS-CoV-2 [the same virus that causes COVID-2] according to pharmacological modelling based on drug concentration and in vitro drug testing. Prophylaxis with hydroxychloroquine prevents SARS-CoV-2 infection and viral Can.