Covid-19 Treatment: Russia sees promising results in early trials of Favipiravir
Moscow: A candidate drug for treating the new coronavirus, Favipiravir, has produced promising results in early clinical trials in Russia, according to the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which provided 150 million roubles ($2 million) in funding for the project.
RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev said 60% of the 40 patients taking tablets of Favipiravir, which was first developed in Japan under the name Avigan, tested negative for the virus within five days and said the treatment could cut coronavirus recovery times in half.
Avigan, known generically as Favipiravir, was developed in the late 1990s by a company later bought by Fujifilm. The drug works by short-circuiting the reproduction mechanism of certain RNA viruses such as influenza. Favipiravir is also undergoing trials in India by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd.
The clinical trial of 330 patients will be finished by May.
Experts say early tests showed minimal side effects, although more tests were needed before pregnant women can use it. Avigan in Japan was found to cause birth defects.