‘Major safety concerns’: ICMR chief's advice for using antiviral drug Molnupiravir
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) last week gave emergency approval to Molnupiravir as the country witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases following the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
The head of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday said that the antiviral drug Molnupiravir has major safety concerns including mutagenicity, muscle and bone damage. Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of ICMR, told a media briefing that the antiviral Covid-19 pill is not included in the treatment guidelines of the Covid-19 national task force. Bhargava said that contraceptive methods should be used for three months if the drug is administered to women since the child may have problems.
“Molnupiravir has major safety concerns including mutagenicity, muscle & bone damage. If this drug is given contraception has to be done for three months as child may have problems,” he said.
The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) last week gave emergency approval to Molnupiravir as the country witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases following the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron variant. Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that 13 companies will make the antiviral drug in India.
Merck has entered into licensing agreements with eight domestic drugmakers, including Dr Reddy’s, to manufacture and supply the generic version of Molnupiravir to over 100 low- and middle-income countries. A spokesperson of Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd said that the drugmaker will launch the Molnupiravir at ₹35.
"Molflu is expected to be available from early next week in pharmacies throughout (India) with particular focus on states with high caseload of Covid-19," the company spokesperson said.
India reported 58,097 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the active caseload to over 2,14,000, the health ministry said on Wednesday morning. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of confirmed Omicron cases, followed by Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. India also reported its first death due to the Omicron variant.