The anti-viral medicine 2DG, developed by the DRDO for the treatment of COVID-19,  should not be prescribed for pregnant  women, lactating mothers and those with uncontrolled diabetes, according to the directions approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and released on Tuesday.

Approved for emergency use as additional therapy to COVID-19 treatment, the 2DG drug can be taken for a maximum duration of 10 days but not by patients below 18 years of age, the DCGI directives add. The guidelines were shared by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) on Tuesday.

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People with serious cardiac, hepatic and renal impairments need to consult doctors before taking the drug as studies for those groups are yet to be undertaken, the guidelines said.

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The 2-deoxy-D-glucose drug (2DG) comes in powder form in a sachet and can be taken orally with water. The drug accumulates in virus-infected cells, and prevents the growth of the virus by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. It reduces the patient's dependency on supplemented oxygen by halting viral synthesis as well as the energy production of the virus.

The clinical trials showed that the drug helped hospitalised patients recover faster. COVID patients treated with this drug showed faster symptomatic cure, the DRDO said.