Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a m
Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug.
Medical specialists in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in treating coronavirus patients. This drug is known as favipiravir, and is also sold under the brand name Avigan.
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen.
The trials involved 340 patients in total, and since the drug has already been developed and approved for use in treating flu, it has a “high degree of safety,” according to Zhang Xinmin.
In addition to the tests, 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.
However, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, which developed the drug– in 2014, has declined to comment on the claims.
The Chinese studies are not the only attempt to test the efficacy of the drug in COVID-19 treatment – Japanese doctors are bonding their own studies. A Japanese health ministry source told Japanese newspaper the Manichi Shimbun that the drug so far has been given to around 70 to 80 people, but that early results suggest it isn’t effective in treating those with more severe symptoms where the virus has already multiplied to a much greater extent.
Still, a treatment that is effective in reducing the duration of the presence of the virus even in milder cases, and in lessening the impacts in moderate symptomatic patients, would be a huge benefit to the ongoing fight against the coronavirus. Any approvals for use of favipiravir would, of course, require further clinical testing, followed by approval of widespread use by each country’s relevant medical treatment regulating body.