What is Favipiravir and will the Drug Help to Halt the COVID-19 Pandemic?
After China announced encouraging results with the drug Favipiravir, in the fight against the coronavirus, the spotlight turned to it. What do we know about this medicine so far?
Favipiravir was developed by the Japanese corporation as an anti-influenza agent. In February, clinical trials began in Wuhan and Shenzhen's Chinese cities for its effectiveness against the coronavirus COVID-19 infection, and on March 17, Beijing announced positive results.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, told reporters on Tuesday.
The study involved 340 patients.
In addition, X-rays confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug, The Guardian reported.
However, the company which manufactures the drug (Fujifilm Toyama Chemical also known as Avigan), has declined to comment on the claims.
Another well-known drug currently being tested for coronavirus infection is Remdesivir, which was developed for Ebola. If one of the two drugs passes all the necessary clinical tests and is marketed, it could halt the pandemic while we wait for a reliable vaccine.
The new coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 8,000 people worldwide since it appeared in December.
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