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China: Fujifilm Flu Medicine effective against COVID-19

Beijing says that Avigan, an influenza medicine developed by Fujifilm Holdings Corporation subsidiary Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. Ltd is strongly effective against COVID-19.
China: Fujifilm Flu Medicine effective against COVID-19
Fujifilm Avigan

Avigan drug effective against COVID-19

Beijing has begun recommending the "favipiravir" drug with the brand name "Avigan" developed by Fujifilm Holdings corporation subsidiary Fujifilm Toyama Chemical. Developed in 2014, the drug is being administered to coronavirus patients in Japan since February.

Beijing's announcement on the effectiveness of the drug resulted in Fujifilm Shares skyrocketing up by 15.4 percent in Tokyo. This caused the premature suspension of Fujifilm stock trading.

Wuhan and Shenzhen hospitals conducted clinical trials to 200 coronavirus patients. Patients that received the drug tests negative for COVID-19 after a median of four days compared to 11 days in the control group that did not receive the favipiravir drug.

In another clinical trial in Wuhan, patients treated with favipiravir recovered quicker from fever and coughing symptoms compared to patients that did not receive the drug.

17.1 percent of patients not taking the favipiravir needed respiratory aids while only 8.2 percent of patients taking the drug needed breathing aids.

In a news conference, Director of science ministry of China's National Center for Biotechnology Development, Zhang Xinmin says that 'It is very safe and clearly effective.'

A spokesperson for Fujifilm said that the company is not involved with the clinical trials in China and that the company is currently evaluating the said trials.

Fujifilm and China's Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical signed a patent license agreement in 2016 but was cancelled last year but have maintained a cooperative relationship. This resulted in the Chinese pharmaceutical company to get approval to produce a generic version of Avigan beginning this February 2020.

In Japan and South Korea, there have been reservations about using Avigan either because of the lack of Clinical trials or because of studies that say that the drug may cause fetal deaths or deformities that can be transferred via semen.

Fujifilm is currently providing Japanese hospitals with Avigan for clinical research and testing with results expected to arrive in a few months.

See also: To fight COVID-19, Japan to give countries with FREE Fujifilm Avigan drug

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