Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid: Hydroxychloroquine no longer recommended in UAE

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 21, 2021
Photo: Reuters

A group of experts made their recommendations after deliberations, based on evidence.

Hydroxychloroquine should not be used to prevent Covid-19 and the UAE is no longer recommending its use, said a top Abu Dhabi-based doctor, who is part of the panel of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Emmanuel Nsutebu, chief of infectious diseases at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, said that based on research and evidence, the experts came to the conclusion that hydroxychloroquine, which was initially used in the UAE, cannot prevent the infection.


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“Hydroxychloroquine is a drug used to prevent malaria," explained the doctor, who has taken part in the Covid-19 panels of the WHO Living Guidelines for therapeutics, clinical management and drugs.

"During the beginning of the pandemic, it was widely used by healthcare professionals all over the world as a potential treatment for Covid-19. But slowly, with research studies being published with evidence, and the WHO panel making recommendations, we have seen that most countries are no longer recommending its use.”

Dr Emmanuel noted that hydroxychloroquine is no longer recommended in the UAE too.

“I am glad to say that hydroxychloroquine is no longer in the updated UAE Covid-19 national guidelines. It is no longer recommended. The national committee for management of Covid-19 is doing a great job of reviewing all the evidence and making the changes.”

Dr Emmanuel noted the group of experts on the WHO panel had studied the efficacy of the drug against Covid-19 and made their recommendations after deliberations, based on evidence.

“The research studies with good quality evidence showed that the drug didn’t improve the outcomes of the patients with Covid-19 and was potentially harmful.”

The outcomes reviewed included effectiveness of a drug to save lives, reduce mortality, and avoid hospitalisation or a ventilator or intensive care situation.


Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.

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