China, which is battling the novel coronavirus for the past three months, has completed the clinical research of Favipiravir – an antiviral drug that has shown good clinical efficacy against COVID-19.
Favipiravir, the influenza drug which was approved for clinical use in Japan in 2014, has shown no obvious adverse reactions in the clinical trial, Zhang Xinmin, director of the China National Centre for Biotechnology Development, told the media.
The announcement by Zhang, whose centre is attached to the Ministry of Science and Technology, is regarded as significant as there is no standardised effective cure yet to treat the COVID-19 patients, though China and a number of other countries used drugs to treat HIV as well as Ebola virus patients.
More than 80 patients have participated in the clinical trial in The Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, including 35 patients taking Favipiravir and 45 patients on a control group. Results showed that patients receiving Favipiravir treatment turned negative for the virus in a shorter time compared with patients in the control group.
A multi-centred randomised clinical study led by the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University also suggested that the therapeutic effect of Favipiravir is much better than that of the control group.
Favipiravir has been recommended to medical treatment teams and should be included in the diagnosis and treatment plan for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
A Chinese pharmaceutical company has been approved by the National Medical Products Administration to mass-produce the drug and ensure stable supply.
Chinese scientists have been racing to develop COVID-19 vaccines by five approaches, namely inactivated vaccines, genetic engineering subunit vaccines, adenovirus vector vaccines, nucleic acid vaccines, and vaccines using attenuated influenza virus as vectors.