Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people around the globe have been eagerly awaiting a real breakthrough on its treatment. Fortunately, a silver lining seems finally to be showing up.
The virus clearance rate is a well-established golden standard assessing the clinical effectiveness of an antiviral medication. Recently, preliminary results of the “Clinical Study on Favipiravir’s Safety and Effectiveness to COVID-19 Patients” led by the Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen were released at a press conference held by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the P.R.C. In this study, it shows that Favipiravir alleviated the pneumonia symptom of COVID-19 patients with high tolerance and few adverse reactions, potentially through a mechanism that can quickly eliminate the coronaviruses from their bodies.
Significant clinical differences have been observed between the 35-patient experimental group treated with Favipiravir and the 45-patient control group treated with Lopinavir / Ritonavir. The medians of the virus clearance time were 4 days (2.5 ~ 9 days) and 11 days (8 ~ 13 days), respectively (P < 0.001); the posttreatment fever-allaying rates within 2 days were 72.41% versus 26.30%; while the chest-imaging improvement rates were 91.43% versus 62.22%. Notably, the adverse reaction rates of Favipiravir-treated patients were merely 11.43%, comparing to a 55.56% in the control group.
Another clinical trial led by the Zhongnan Hospital (Wuhan, China), with 120 COVID-19 patients recruited in both experimental group (favipiravir) and control group (abidole), also showed that the effectiveness in experimental group was significantly better than that in the control group, which was 71.43% and 55.86%, respectively. The same significant advantage went to the average antipyretic and cough remission time.
Moreover, Favipiravir comes in a tablet form, making for easier application. Together these studies indicated the clinical efficacy and safety of Favipiravir, bringing hope to countries suffering from the epidemic.
Favipiravir is included in the national strategic stockpile of the antiviral medicine of Japan. In 2016, the patent of Favipiravir was exclusively franchised to Hisun by the Japanese Toyama Chemical Co Ltd. Hisun hence teamed up with the Academy of Military Medical Sciences of China to develop the Favipiravir tablets. The medication was approved for marketing at this February and designated as an “important goods for fighting against the epidemic” by the Chinese government. As a famous Chinese pharmaceutical enterprise, Hisun has exported API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) to occidental countries for a long period of time. It also boasts high production capacity and formulation quality. So far, several foreign countries and embassies have ordered Favipiravir from Hisun, who has expressed willingness to fully support the global fight against the COVID-19.