China Embraces Avigan, While Japan Studies

China is developing generic versions of Avigan Favipiravir

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When China's health leadership announced they have found the anti-influenza drug Avigan (Favipiravir) effective in treating COVID-19 disease in adult patients, Japan was expected to follow.

China’s positive reception of Avigan (Favipiravir) contrasts with Japan’s continued reservations.

Avigan initially obtained regulatory approval in Japan during 2014. Since then, clinical studies have indicated Avigan (Favipiravir) may cause serious side effects.

However, on March 17, 2020,  Zhang Xinmin, China’s director of the National Center for Biotechnology Development said ‘Avigan (Favipiravir) was found to be effective in clinical trials during 2020.’

These studies in China concluded this medicine was effective in treating coronavirus-related symptoms and had no obvious side effects.

Additionally, Zhang said he formally recommended the use of this Avigan (Favipiravir) as a way to treat patients diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease, which is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

This influenza medicine was developed by Fujifilm Toyama, which recently signed a patent license agreement with China's Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical. 

This Chinese company said it received official approval to produce Avigan in February 2020 and intends to ramp up the output of a generic version.

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To better understand its clinical efficacy, Fujifilm announced it is providing Avigan to Japanese hospitals for clinical research and is also preparing to conduct its own clinical tests in Japan. 

This new research began during March in Japan, with results not expected for several months.

Separately, South Korea's ministry of food and drug safety recently decided not to import Avigan, saying there was not enough clinical data to prove the drug's efficacy.

However, to address their need for a COVID-19 therapeutic medication, South Korea reported that the experimental antiviral drug remdesivir will be used to treat patients infected with COVID-19, as part of a clinical trial.

On March 3, 2020, local media sources reported Gilead Sciences has been granted approval to begin phase 3 clinical trials of remdesivir for the treatment of COVID-19 in adult patients. 

This approval by South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety is reported to have been granted 4-days after the application.

COVID-19 disease medication development news is published by Precision Vaccinations.