BENGALURU: Till last month, Mandya district had a record number of Covid-19 cases causing concern. But to everyone’s surprise, it has been recording an impressive turnaround despite continuing arrivals from hot spot states. Health officials claim that one of the reasons is because they are giving hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to all those quarantined, including the Maharashtra returnees. They also quoted the government guidelines which permit prophylactic usage of HCQ (prevention).
While the matter evoked mixed response from health professionals including concerns of side-effects on aged population as well as consent, top officials in the district declared it as a successful move, pointing at the reduction in number of cases. They claim that none of the patients recorded any side-effects.At first, the district saw a rise in numbers with the Tablighi Jamaat members returning from Delhi. Later it saw a surge with the majority of Maharashtra returnees testing positive, taking the total to 373 so far. However, the trend dropped sharply from June first week with the active case count dropping to 39. This, even as it continues to see returnees from Mumbai in double digits.
A top health official said the returnees were given a dose of 400 mg HCQ twice on the first day of quarantine followed by weekly one dose along with good food. There was close monitoring before the first test conducted on the 10th day. A person in quarantine too said he was given HCQ.
Despite the debate around HCQ, officials on the condition of anonymity, claimed that fresh positive cases fell shar-ply and those who tested positive had only mild symptoms,. Asked about the side-effects, they said that unlike the claims, none of the people, including the primary and secondary contacts showed adverse effects so far.
A WHO official from the State and a senior doctor engaged in Covid treatment who did not want to be named opined that it was not a serious issue since health workers and police personnel are already given seven-week doses of HCQ as a preventive measureOn the other side, a senior official from the health department and renowned cardiologist Dr S P Yoganna termed it as an abuse of medicine. “Indiscriminate use is not recommended for everyone, especially those with cardiac issues, after all it is an immune modulator, it will not kill the virus,” he said.