Fujifilm Toyama Chemical’s Favipiravir Shows some Promise in Japanese and Chinese COVID-19 Clinical Trials

Mar 18, 2020 | Avigan, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Favipiravir, Fujifilm Toyama Chemical

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical’s Favipiravir Shows some Promise in Japanese and Chinese COVID-19 Clinical Trials

A drug called favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm called Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, has generated encouraging outcomes based on clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. The drug has been developed to address new strains of influenza.

Chinese Clinical Trials

Zhang Xinmin, an official with China’s science and technology ministry, reported that patients in Shenzhen participating in the clinical trial reported good outcomes for the virus after a median of four days after testing positive compared to a median of 11 days for those not treated with this drug, reported The Guardian. Moreover, patient X-rays showcased improvements in lung condition for about 91% of the patients taking favipiravir versus 62% of those not taking the drug.

The Drug Developer

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical developed the drug known as Avigan—in 2014, declined to comment on these claims coming out of China. However, their share price surged this morning by as much as 14.7%.

The Drug Shows Promise

Also called Avigan, it is an antiviral drug under development by Toyama Chemical of Japan with activity against many RNA viruses. By February 2020 the drug was being assessed in China for experimental treatment of the emergent COVID-19 disease—and as reported recently, it was found to be effective in treating the infection in two clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen.

Avigan has been shown to be active against influenza viruses, West Nile virus, yellow fever virus, foot and mouth disease virus, as well as flaviviruses, arenaviruses, bunya viruses and alphaviruses. The drug has also evidenced activity against enteroviruses and Rift Valley fever virus.

Moreover, the drug has demonstrated limited efficacy against Zika virus in animal studies, but ultimately has represented less promise than MK-608.

Its mechanism of action is purported to be related to the selective inhibition of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. Other studies have led researchers to suggest that favipiravir induces lethal RNA transversion mutations, generating a nonviable viral phenotype. As a prodrug, it metabolizes to its active form, favipiravir-ribofuranosyl-5′-triphosphate (favipiravir-RTP), available in both oral and intravenous formulations. Favipiravir does not inhibit RNA or DNA synthesis in mammalian cells and is not toxic to them. In 2014, favipiravir was approved in Japan for stockpiling against influenza pandemics. However, favipiravir has not been shown to be effective in primary human airway cells, casting doubt on its efficacy in influenza treatment.

The drug showed some promise based on preclinical research in a mouse model or Ebola virus disease, but the efficacy of this application is unproven, While early stage reports suggest the drug could be effective in treating COVID-19.

Clinical Trials in Japan

Apparently, physicians in Japan have embraced the drug for coronavirus studies in that country. The emphasis there is on patients with mild to moderate symptoms. However, reports picked up by The Guardian report that the drug is not as effective in patients with severe symptoms. A source noted “We’ve given Avigan to 70 – 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied.” Moreover, the UK paper reports that similar challenges have been observed in studies involving coronavirus patients using a combination of the HIV antiretrovirals lopinavir and ritonavir.

Need Approvals

Currently, there are no approvals for the use of Favipiravir for full-scale use for COVID-19 patients as it was not developed with this condition. However, a health official informed the Mainichi that the drug could be approved by May. Key will be clinical trials results.

Source: The Guardian

10 Comments

  1. Rohani sayed

    Hi, great news. Happy to hear about it. Hope to hear more success in the future. Wish to get the drugs for my country soon.

    Thank you very much

    • Sharif Ahmed

      It’s a ray of hope as covid-19 has already arrived in our country Bangladesh a hugely populated country with poor medical services

  2. Sharif Ahmed

    It’s a ray of hope as covid-19 has already arrived in our country Bangladesh a hugely populated country with poor medical services

    • Md.Imran Ahmed

      Dear The Authority,
      Toyama Chemical,

      Thanks for your great invention as trial dose for the treatment of Covid19 virus. We are passing very hard time in the world.
      I am from Bangladesh. We are developing country in southeast Asia. We need your assistance immediately cause , there lots of patients are infecting in Novel Corona virus. We don’t have no treatment & good arrangements for identifying the infection of Covid19 virus. People of our country’s are very much panicked & worried to how to recover from these situations. If you please arrange for us some doses of medicines Favipiravir, we will be great full to you forever. How can we get this medicine immediately, inform us please.
      Best regards
      Md.Imran Ahmed
      E-MAIL: ranajlpt@gmail.com

  3. Md.Imran Ahmed

    Dear The Authority,
    Toyama Chemical,

    Thanks for your great invention as trial dose for the treatment of Covid19 virus. We are passing very hard time in the world.
    I am from Bangladesh. We are developing country in southeast Asia. We need your assistance immediately cause , there lots of patients are infecting in Novel Corona virus. We don’t have no treatment & good arrangements for identifying the infection of Covid19 virus. People of our country’s are very much panicked & worried to how to recover from these situations. If you please arrange for us some doses of medicines Favipiravir, we will be great full to you forever. How can we get this medicine immediately, inform us please.
    Best regards
    Md.Imran Ahmed
    E-MAIL: ranajlpt@gmail.com

  4. Francesco

    hello, congratulations for the great discovery, here in Italy the situation is dramatic, how can we buy the drug? thanks, best regards to FRANCESCO

    • TrialSite

      Dear Francesco, thank you for reaching out to TrialSite News. The situation in Italy has been terribly difficult and we surely hope the virus is contained there soon. We have reported that in certain towns there they have made some breakthroughs in learning how to contain it–such as the “University of Padua” study.
      In Italy any drug approval must go through the Italian Medicines Agency. We suspect that they are looking at this particular experimental treatment as well as many others, but they are the authority in Italy to determine if this drug would be considered. We share their website here. http://www.agenziafarmaco.com/en/node/4111

      Regards,
      Publisher

  5. viengvilay

    Great. Where i can buy AVIGAN???

  6. eric

    In the philippines will the avigan drug available we need the drug as soon as possible

    • TrialSite

      Dear Eric,
      If you would like us to look into this send us an email and we will surely try to help. Regards, Publisher

Pin It on Pinterest