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Fujifilm’s Antiviral Becomes First Approved Drug to Treat Coronavirus in China

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Mar 2020
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Image: Favilavir (Photo courtesy of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical)
Image: Favilavir (Photo courtesy of Fujifilm Toyama Chemical)
Fujifilm Toyama Chemical’s (Tokyo, Japan) flu drug Favilavir, which is currently being promoted with the label, Avigan, has become the first-ever antiviral medicine to be approved for use as a treatment for COVID-19 in China. The National Medical Products Administration of China has approved Favilavir for treating the now-declared pandemic illness after it appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients during clinical studies.

Favilavir, which has proven to be an effective antiviral drug for fighting RNA infections by inhibiting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, or RdRp, is mainly used for treating influenza in Japan and China. According to medical authorities in China, Favipiravir had delivered encouraging outcomes in clinical trials of 340 coronavirus-infected patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen. The Ministry of Science and Technology of China has stated that Favilavir was shown to prevent COVID-19 from spreading and further damaging the health of patients in clinical studies. According to reports, the patients in Shenzhen who were administered Favilavir turned negative for the coronavirus after a median of four days after becoming positive, as compared to a median of 11 days for patients who were not treated with the drug. Additionally, X-rays showed improvements in the lung condition of 91% of the patients who were administered Favipiravir, as compared to 62% of patients who were not treated with the drug.

Despite its potential, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet regarded Favilavir as an effective treatment medicine for coronavirus. Nevertheless, doctors in Japan are said to be conducting clinical studies of Favilavir on coronavirus patients having mild to moderate symptoms in the hope of preventing the virus from multiplying in the patients.

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