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Fujifilm flu drug effective in treating coronavirus in Chinese clinical trials

Published on 18/03/20 at 02:07pm
Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S

A flu drug has appeared to be effective in treating COVID-19, according to recent clinical trials in China.

The drug, Avigan (favipiravir), developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, has been used in clinical trials involving 340 patients. It has taken place in Wuhan and Shenzen and has been described “clearly effective”, by Zhang Xinmin an official at China’s Science and Technology ministry.

Patients who received the drug in the trial were tested negative for coronavirus after a median of four days after being tested positive. This is compared to 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug. X-rays also confirmed improvement in the lung conditions of 91% of the patients who took favipiravir, compared to 62% in those who did not.

It is currently being used in other clinical trials in Japan. However, a Japanese health official has doubts over if it can treat patients with more severe symptoms, saying: “We’ve given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied.”

Avegan was previously used as an emergency treatment for an Ebola outbreak in Guniea in 2016 and would need a full government approval for expanded use in treating COVID-19.

Conor Kavanagh

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