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Watch | What is hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) is an anti-malarial drug similar to chloroquine, one of the oldest and best-known anti-malarial drugs, but with lesser side-effects. It can be bought over the counter and is fairly inexpensive.

The drug shot to fame as it is shown to have shortened the time to clinical recovery of COVID-19 patients. However, many of these are in small lab-controlled testing and no proper human trials have been conducted to determine its efficacy.

Also read | India has enough stock of hydroxychloroquine, says Centre

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has cleared HCQ to be used as a prophylaxis, or preventive medication, by doctors, nurses and other health staff. Union Health Ministry, last month, moved it to Schedule H1, which can be sold on prescription only.

U.S. President Donald Trump has been a proponent of its use, calling it a “gamechanger”. He warned “retaliation” against India, if it didn’t revoke the ban on its exports. India eventually allowed export of the drug.

Also read | More than 29 million hydroxychloroquine doses bought by U.S. have come from India, says President Trump

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