Fujifilm to Send Its Coronavirus Drug Favipiravir to Over 40 Countries for Trials

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by Steve Muchoki · 3 min read
Fujifilm to Send Its Coronavirus Drug Favipiravir to Over 40 Countries for Trials
Photo: Unsplash

Fujifilm (FUJIY) shares closed with a 0.95% rise yesterday after the company confirmed it will send its favipiravir coronavirus drug to over 40 countries for trials.

Japan is now shipping favipiravir offered by Fujifilm to 43 countries for clinical trials and also testing it with mild and moderate COVID-19 patients. As a result, Fujifilm Holdings Corporation (OTCMKTS: FUJIY) stock closed yesterday on a positive note at $47.71 with a 0.95% rise.

Fujifilm Offers Favipiravir to Treat COVID-19

The drug has been put under test by different countries including China, Italy and also Japan, whereby the Health centers in China and Japan have been studying favipiravir as a COVID-19 treatment for months. India is in the process of testing the drug, with trials set to begin soon.

Favipiravir has been hailed for its fast response in coronavirus patients, whereby patients taking the drug tested negative after a median of four days. The recovery time is less than half the 11 days it took for patients to recover after using remdesivir.

Another thing to note with the drug is that 8.2% of Favipiravir patients needed respiratory aid compared to 17.1% of the control group. The director for the National Center for Biotechnology Development, Zhang Xinmin called the drug ‘very safe and clearly effective’ and without obvious side effects.

“Avigan is a viral RNA polymerase inhibitor, with a new mechanism of action that inhibits viral gene replication within infected cells,” said Kana Matsumoto, a spokesperson for Fujifilm. “Due to this characteristic, the drug may potentially have an antiviral effect on the viruses classified into the same type as influenza,” he concluded.

The drug has been used by the Japanese researchers on COVID-19 patients for the past two months. On the other hand, Fujifilm itself began a phase 3 clinical trial in japan last month with around 100 patients.

However, as of April 26, more than 2,000 people in Japan have been treated with the drug as part of the clinical trials.

Future of Coronavirus Drugs

The shipment made by the Japanese government is being sent through the UN office for project services. According to a post on CNBC, each country will receive enough drugs to treat about 20 to 100 people.

Fujifilm is continuing with its phase 2 clinical trials in Massachusetts, which began in April with about 50 patients, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“We expect the drug will enhance clearance of the virus and shorten the duration of Covid-19 illness,” said Robert Feinberg, the chair of the school’s Department of Medicine.

It is incredible how biotech companies have come up with a solution amid a crisis in less than a year. With the WHO engaging with the U.S. government and Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) to deliver more remdesivir worldwide, hope to control the coronavirus pandemic is looming ahead.

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