Japan May Offer Avigan For Free

Favipiravir (T-705) is an anti-viral agent that selectively and potently inhibits the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses

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Japan's government is considering providing the influenza drug Avigan for free to countries treating coronavirus patients, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga stated.

According to the Japan Times on April 4, 2020, “Some 30 countries have made requests through diplomatic channels to Japan for the procurement of Avigan. We’re coordinating to provide the necessary amounts for free to countries wanting it,” said Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

“We intend to expand clinical research on Avigan with countries wishing to cooperate,” the government’s top spokesman said.

As an example, Indonesia ordered 2 million doses of Avigan on March 20th and plans to begin clinical testing once the shipment arrives.

And, Germany is aiming for short-term stockpiling of Avigan, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported. 

This Avigan request will be in the millions of packs, which will be distributed through university hospitals and other institutions with the help of the German military.

The Avigan (favipiravir) antiviral targets the same type of single-stranded RNA virus related to COVID-19 disease. 

On March 31, 2020, FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd., issued a press release saying ‘Avigan, approved for manufacture and sale as an influenza antiviral drug in Japan, has a mechanism of action for selectively inhibiting RNA polymerase involved in influenza viral replication.’

‘Due to this mechanism, it is expected that Avigan may potentially have an antiviral effect on the new coronavirus.’

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A 2017 study found ‘Favipiravir (T-705; 6-fluoro-3-hydroxy-2-pyrazinecarboxamide) is an anti-viral agent that selectively and potently inhibits the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses. 

Favipiravir undergoes an intracellular phosphoribosylation to be an active form, favipiravir-RTP (favipiravir ribofuranosyl-5′-triphosphate), which is recognized as a substrate by RdRp, and inhibits the RNA polymerase activity. 

Favipiravir is effective against a wide range of types and subtypes of influenza viruses, including strains resistant to existing anti-influenza drugs. 

Of note is that favipiravir shows anti-viral activities against other RNA viruses such as arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, and filoviruses, all of which are known to cause fatal hemorrhagic fever.

Avigan Tablet was approved for manufacture and sale in Japan in 2014 as an influenza antiviral drug. Avigan has been manufactured and stocked in Japan as an anti-influenza drug.

This antiviral is to be considered for use only when there is an outbreak of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections. The medication is supplied only at the discretion of Japan’s Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

Recently, China's health leadership announced on March 19, 2020, that they have found the generic, Favipiravir, effective in treating COVID-19 disease in adult patients.

FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd. conducts the research, development, manufacture, and sales of radiopharmaceuticals and small molecule pharmaceutical products. 

Coronavirus treatment development news is published by Precision Vaccinations.