Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony
While some countries have opted to not use or stopped the use of hydroxychloroquine as a drug to prevent COVID-19 infection, Guyana’s frontline healthcare workers are now using it. This is according to Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony, who on Friday updated members of the media about government’s fight against the coronavirus.
Dr Anthony disclosed that doctors, nurses and other technicians who are on the frontline, dealing with cases of COVID-19, have been administered with hydroxychloroquine.
The Health Minister in defending Guyana’s decision to use the drug said this country has seen a need to use it in a limited setting.
“We have had a team of clinical specialists who would have developed sub standardized guidelines for the treatment of COVID-19 here in Guyana, and as part of those protocols, they have hydroxychloroquine to be used as a prophylaxis for frontline workers,” the Minister said.
According to Dr. Anthony, the feedback received from doctors suggests that the drug has been effective.
Hydroxychloroquine is a medicine developed to combat arthritis and is also used to prevent malaria. It is being embraced, as there is no approved treatment for the highly contagious virus that attacks the respiratory system. Patients in isolation are mainly given support services such as breathing assistance.
A number of countries have opted not to use the drug which has had mixed results in clinical studies and trials. Other counties have even halted the use of hydroxychloroquine.
In the United Kingdom, the National Taskforce has strengthened its call for hydroxychloroquine not to be administered as a treatment for or a prevention against COVID-19. The strengthened recommendation of the taskforce released on August 7, built its foundation from studies that show a lack of value and potential harmful side effects of the use of the drug.
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted “emergency use” of the drug, but subsequently warned about the risk associated with its use. In June, the FDA had it withdrawn after clinical trials revealed it will not produce an antiviral effect.
France, Italy, Belgium and other EU countries have banned the use of Hydroxychloroquine, while countries like Spain and India have forged ahead with its use.