Mumbai, June 3: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, deployed as frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19, would be administered with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as a prophylaxis. The anti-malarial drug would be prescribed to them under strict medical supervision, the officials said. The decision comes days after several researches red-flagged the potential risk posed by the anti-malarial drug.
According to reports, the RPF decided to administer HCQ on all its employees involved in frontline work after a committee headed by the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) approved the drug's usage. Subsequently a letter was written to zonal chiefs by RPF Director General Arun Kumar, asking them to recommend hydroxychloroquine on all security personnel involved in COVID-19-related duties.
"It has now been decided that RPF/RPSF personnel in the frontline fight against Covid-19 may be prescribed HCQ as prophylaxis against corona(virus) infection," the DG said in his letter, as reported by The Indian Express. The letter was written to Principal Chief Security Commissioners (PCSCs) of all zones.
The clamour around HCQ surged in March, after US President Donald Trump called the anti-viral medicine a "game-changer" in the fight against COVID-19. Since May, however, Trump reduced his references to HCQ as medical bodies across the US raised doubts over its effectiveness in treating COVID-19 patients.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) ended HCQ trials last month after noting that the medicine poses risks of heart-related ailments. In case of heart patients, the usage of HCQ to treat coronavirus may prove to be lethal, the global body warned.