Yet another nation has opted to embrace the antiviral drug Favipiravir (Avigan) as a treatment for early onset COVID-19. Approved in Japan for influenza (and awaiting regulatory decision there for COVID-19 as well as in Canada), dozens of nations now have accepted Favipiravir as a treatment, as a number of studies evidence some efficacy targeting COVID-19. Minister of Health Daniel Ngamije reported on Rwanda television that the country would procure 18,000 doses of Favipiravir for use in treating COVID-19 in critical conditions. The drug will make it to the country today, according to the official. The drug will come in the form of 200 gram tablets. The drug is generally safe, although some academic reports have called out anomaly safety cases. Imperial College of London researchers offer a review of the safety record. The drug is used for the influenzas stockpile in Japan. Its original maker is FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical. TrialSite has chronicled unfolding studies, evidence and acceptance by various health ministries. The drug is sold under the name Avigan in Japan—the antiviral drug inhibits viral replication via termination of viral protein synthesis, impeding its survival.
Dozens of Countries using the Therapy
Russia was the first nation to have a national health authority approve this drug for COVID-19—in a generic form called Avifavir. They have now approved other versions of the drug as well for COVID-19. The drug is used in Japan off label targeting COVID-19 but regulators haven’t approved the drug as of yet. However, it is in use in India (multiple generic forms) as well as Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Kazakhstan. Apparently, the government of Saudi Arabia and UAE just approved Favipiravir as well. Additionally, the drug is prescribed to target COVID-19 in Turkey, Bangladesh and now Egypt.
In India, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the drug for mild and moderate COVID-19 infections during the pandemic.
USA Studies But…
In America, a few studies have been ongoing and as TrialSite reported that five years ago or so, the Department of Defense financed over $200 million in Phase 3 studies investigating the antiviral drug for various potential infectious diseases.
Those studies were never documented and unfortunately its findings are national security protected.
Despite over $13 billion injected into just a handful of pharmaceutical companies for vaccines and monoclonal antibodies, the U.S. has not come up with any early stage, oral treatment for COVID-19. With growing recognition that ivermectin could represent an answer, frankly there is mounting evidence that Favipiravir could possibly help.
Health Canada Decision
As TrialSite has reported, Indian generic firm Dr. Reddy’s has partnered with Appili Therapeutics to commercialize a form of Favipiravir in Canada. The application is under review by Health Canada.