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Molnupiravir not part of national taskforce treatment: ICMR chief

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) Dr Balram Bharagava, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Wednesday that the Molnupiravir drug is not included in the national Covid taskforce treatment as it has major safety concerns like teratogenicity, mutagenicity, muscle & bone damage among others.

"More importantly contraception has to be done for three months if this drug is given for male and female as the child born could be problematic with teratogenic influences," the ICMR chief said at a press briefing here. The WHO and the UK has not included it as of now, he added.

He said that the US has approved the drug based on samples of 1,433 unvaccinated individuals with mild to moderate symptoms.

"We are concerned about pregnancy, lactation, children, soft injuries, reproductive age group, history of infection, vaccination so it has not been included," he said.

"The current recommendation stands that it is not the part of national taskforce treatment and we have debated it twice and will debate further to find whether there is any further possibility", said ICMR chief.

On Omicron surge, Bhargava said that upsurge of Covid-19 infections is happening in cities with Omicron predominantly circulating the strain.

He said that Omicron detecting RT-PCR kit has been developed in partnership with Tata MD and ICMR which has been approved by DCGI. The kit will test will give results in 4 hours, he added.