The world witnessed its greatest Pandemic in recent times. The Pandemic outbreak is yet to be contained in all parts of the world with over 110,000 deaths recorded since the outbreak. Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said results of clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients given favipiravir have been encouraging. Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen tested negative for COVID-19 on average four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said. Avigan, developed by a group firm of Fujifilm Holdings has been stored in Japan as a treatment for influenza. Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. began clinical tests to evaluate the efficacy of the drug, also known as Favipiravir, to COVID-19 patients. If such efficacy is confirmed, the government might approve the drug for use in COVID-19 treatment this summer.
The Japanese government is considering providing Avigan for free to other countries that want to use the flu drug to treat coronavirus patients, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
“Some 30 countries have made requests through diplomatic channels to Japan for the procurement of Avigan,” Suga said at a news conference. “We’re coordinating to provide the necessary amounts for free to countries wanting it.”
A study by researchers at Wuhan University and other institutions in China has shown cases in which Avigan was effective against the new coronavirus, especially for those with mild symptoms.
Avigan was manufactured and stocked in Japan as an influenza drug. There is hope it can eventually be used to help treat tick-borne illnesses as well as other diseases, including Ebola.