The Namibia Medicines Regulatory Council has cautioned the public that to date, no vaccine or medicine has been proven to prevent coronavirus transmission and the efficacy and safety of hydroxychloroquine for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 remains to be defined.
Registrar of medicines Johannes Gaeseb said large, well-conducted randomised clinical trials with appropriate monitoring are required to determine if hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine have preventive or treatment efficacy in Covid-19 and acceptable safety.
“The majority of the clinical trials and studies conducted to date have pointed to the need for continuous research through randomised clinical studies that will determine if CQ/HCQ [chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine] have preventive or treatment efficacy in Covid-19 and facilitate decision making based on the evidence which is scientifically acceptable,” he said. Gaeseb noted that current recommendations for HCQ/CQ outside clinical trials and clinical settings is therefore not justified at this time.
“Covid-19 is a new potential indication for CQ/HCQ, although this medicine has only demonstrated moderate in vitro activity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and there is no convincing evidence at this time of significant clinical efficacy. The majority of clinical trials of CQ/HCQ have focused on hospitalised patients or patients in clinical settings,” Gaeseb explained.
According to Gaeseb, the effect of CQ/HCQ on the prevention of symptomatic infection before and after Covid-19 exposure is unknown.
Therefore, he argued that small, non-randomised controlled trials investigating the efficacy of HCQ as Covid-19 post-exposure prophylaxis have not established significant benefits of short-term high-dose or any dosage of HCQ/CQ for the prevention of Covid-19 after exposure.
The public is urged to notify the medicines council of companies, individuals, or health workers encouraging the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine for prevention or treatment of Covid-19 without confirmation by an accredited laboratory. In the meantime, he said, the ministry of health has implemented public health strategies to mitigate the transmission of the virus. These include rapid identification of cases, isolation, contact tracing and self-quarantine of those exposed to the virus. – email@example.com