COVID-19: Japanese drug proves effective as per Chinese authorities

Japanese ‘flu drug’ reportedly effective for COVID-19 patients according to Chinese medical authorities.

According to reports, medical authorities in China have stated that a drug used to cure influenza in Japan is showing effective results when administered on COVID-19 patients. Reportedly, the company that develops the drug has seen a sudden upsurge in following the announcement by the Chinese authorities.

An official of China’s Science and Technology Ministry, Zhang Xinmin, has stated that favipiravir, a drug developed by the Fujifim Toyoma Chemical, has managed to produce positive results pertaining to clinical trials held in Wuhan and Shenzhen with nearly 340 participants, respectively. Zhang reportedly informed reporters that there is a “high degree of safety” and seems to be “clearly effective” in treatment of the Coronavirus patients.

As per reports of public broadcaster NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai), the patients who were given the favipiravir drug in Shenzhen tested negative for the virus after four days of testing positive in comparison to those who had not received the medication and took nearly eleven days. Furthermore, experts have observed improvement in the  lung condition of patients in approximately ninety-one percent of the patients who had been administered the favipiravir drug in comparison to the sixty-two percent who had not been given the medication.

Meanwhile, Fujifilm Toyoma Chemical responsible for the development of favipiravir [also known as Avigan] in 2014, has yet to issue a statement concerning the claims. However, it has been reported that shares in the firm have remarkably surged on Wednesday following Zhang’s comments.

Moreover, doctors in Japan are reportedly using the drug for clinical studies on the COVID-19 patients who may present mild to moderate symptoms. Experts are of the opinion that the drug may help to prevent the virus from multiplying. Simultaneously, an official of Japan’s Health Ministry has stated that favipiravir may not be as effective for people with severe symptoms.

According to reports, the Japanese official stated that the drug had been administered in almost seventy to eighty people however, it seemed ineffective in cases where the virus had “already multiplied”. In addition to this, it has been reported that similar limitations were observed in studies involving participants [SARS-CoV-2 patients] using a combination of the HIV antiretrovirals: lopinavir and ritonavir, respectively.

It is to be noted, that prior to the spread of Coronavirus, the Japanese government had supplied favipiravir as an “emergency aid” to overcome the Ebola virus in Guinea. Additionally, it has been reported that “full-scale use of favipiravir” needs government approval as it is originally meant to treat the common flu.


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