A number of doctors have now begun testing the drug favipiravir to treat corona virus patients, arguing that the anti-virus efficacy of this drug can be utilized. The flu drug, with the trade name Avigan, was granted a permit in Japan in 2014. Preliminary results indicate that this cold medicine could shorten the recovery time for Covid-19 patients.
China’s ministry of science and technology said the drug showed “very good clinical results”. There are currently five clinical trials in several countries, including in Italy, Japan and the United States. Fujifilm Toyama Chemical said the drug efficacy trials were carried out in groups of 100 patients until the end of June.
Studies in Japan will give the drug for more than 14 days to patients in the age range of 20 to 74 years. “His research will monitor a variety of factors,” Gaetan Burgio, a geneticist at the Australian National University’s College of Health and Medicine, told the AFP news agency.
These include, clinically important effects on fever, coughing, oxygenation, recovery period and hospital stay. Also observed how quickly the virus is cleaned from the system along with x-ray or CT scan for pneumonia.
“If we see a significant reduction in clinical trial results and a lower viral load in the group of patients given favipiravir, this would be a good indication for clinical trials on a larger scale,” said geneticist Burgio.
Strict standard trial
Favipiravir trials to treat corona virus are carried out to a very strict standard. The aim is to ensure that the drug is safe and effective in a large number of patients.
“Smaller studies already have reports. But it is difficult to draw conclusions, because the number of patients is very small, and there is no comparison given a placebo. More often than other drugs,” said Stephen Griffin, a virologist from the University of Leeds, England.
Favipiravir works by blocking the virus to multiply in cells. So far there are still concerns regarding its safety. Because in laboratory tests, this flu drug affects the development of the fetus in the womb. Therefore doctors are advised not to give drugs to pregnant women.
Orders flooded, factories speeding production
The Favipiravir flu drug, with the trade name Avigan, is only permitted in Japan to treat flu outbreaks that cannot be treated with existing medicines. This drug also does not exist in the public market. Favirapir may only be produced and distributed at the request of the Japanese government.
Now the government in Tokyo ordered Fujifilm to boost its production. Both for domestic needs and to meet the demands of more than a dozen countries that have submitted applications for the import of drugs.
It is said, a number of countries in Asia, including Indonesia, have ordered this cold medicine in large doses. Also Germany and the United States have submitted applications to purchase Avigan to the Japanese government.