Coronavirus

What is Favipiravir, the drug used in China to fight Covid-19?

The director of the National Centre for Biotechnological Development of China, Zhan Xinmin, has recommended the use of this antiviral.

What is Favipiravir, the drug used in China to fight Covid-19?

The coronavirus continues to wreak havoc worldwide and a cure has yet to be found. Some people, like the Presdient of the United States, Donald Trump, have been promoting the ‘possible’ virtues of hydroxychloroquine, but there is another drug that has the scientific world talking, as we all dream of a return to normal life, without living in fear of the deadly disease.

At this time, no drug has been found or manufactured that can cope with the coronavirus. The closest to a solution being used by medical staff for highly severe cases is pumping oxygen through artificial respirators in ICUs. Then there is the use of common antivirals, such as Favipiravir.

What is Faviparivir?

It is a chemical also known as T-705, the use of which is applied to patients who contain the RNA virus, that is, it is an antiviral medicine. Faviparivir is derived from Pyrazinamide which is often used against yellow fever, West Nile virus as well as the likes of Arenavirus or Bunyavirus. This antiviral, Faviparivir, was also used for people infected with Ebola.

Tablets of Avigan (generic name : Favipiravir), a drug approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan and developed by drug maker Toyama Chemical Co.

How does it work?

Faviparivir blocks viral replication and the extraction of the production of lethal genetic mutations, that is, it is responsible for reducing the virus within the body until it becomes non-infectious. Several Chinese scientists conducted a study to find out the efficacy of this antiviral against the coronavirus. According to the Xinhua news agency, the study was undertaken on 35 patients and the group tested negative for coronavirus. The director of the National Centre for Biotechnological Development of China, Zhan Xinmin, has recommended the use of this antiviral as a medicine to deal with Covid-19.

This antiviral has not yet been marketed in Europe or in the United States due to a lack of scientific evidence, however, Italy has now authorised its use. In contrast, Salvador Illa, Minister of Health in Spain, commented that "its use is not recommended except in clinical trials due to a lack of scientific evidence." Instead Spain has authorised the used of medications such as Remdesivir, Lopinavir, Chloroquine, Sarilumab and interferon Beta-1B and Alpha-2B.

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