Covid-19 drug molnupiravir could affect unborn fetuses, sperms and bone growth, the country’s drug advisory agency has warned.
The Ministry of Health’s Advisory Council for the Registration of Circulation of Drugs and Medicinal Ingredients said on January 8 the drug must not be used for more than five days in a row, and should only be given to people who have had symptoms for less than five days.
It should not be used as a prophylactic to prevent Covid, it cautioned further.
Molnupiravir must not be used during pregnancy, and women looking to have a child should use contraceptives while taking it and for four days after their last dose, and those with babies should not breastfeed them during that period.
There is a low chance the drug could affect sperms, and men should therefore use contraception while taking it and for three months afterward.
Children under 18 should not be given the drug.
Molnupiravir should only be used on doctors’ instructions, the ministry said.
Vietnam has used molnupiravir for treating people with mild to moderate Covid symptoms and with at least one underlying risk factor that could lead to severe symptoms.
Over 400,000 doses have been distributed so far.
Approval has been sought to distribute three drugs in which molnupiravir is an active ingredient, and businesses are likely to start producing them domestically.
The antiviral inhibits the replication of certain viruses by introducing errors in their viral RNA replication. It would result in “an accumulation of errors in the viral genome leading to inhibition of replication,” also known as viral error catastrophe.
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