Favipiravir was first approved in Japan (2014) totreat cases of influenza. Influenza is a viral infection that attacks yourrespiratory system. It is commonly called ‘flu’. For most people, influenzaresolves on its own. But, sometimes, its complications can be deadly.Initially, the flu may seem like a common cold with a runny nose and sorethroat whereas the flu tends to come on suddenly. Although a cold can be anuisance, you usually feel much worse with the flu. Flu viruses travel throughthe air in droplets when someone with the infection sneezes, coughs, or talks.People with the virus are likely contagious from the day or so before symptomsfirst appear until about 5 days after symptoms begin.
Now, China is battling the novel coronavirus for the past 3 months and has completed the clinical research of Favipiravir. This medicine is an influenza drug which was approved for clinical use in Japan (2014). This has shown good clinical efficacy against COVID-19. The coronavirus has shown signs of gradually abating in China including in the epicenter Wuhan. The virus was first reported in Wuhan in December (2019). Results showed that patients who received Favipiravir turned negative for the virus in a shorter time compared with patients in some control group. Researchers are suggesting that this drug should be included in the diagnosis treatment plan for COVID-19.
COVID-19 is a newly identified disease that hascaused a recent outbreak of respiratory illness. The virus causing coronavirusdisease is not similar to the coronaviruses that commonly circulate amonghumans. In which, it causes mild illness like the common cold. Coronavirusesare a type of virus that has different kinds which some cause disease. Patientswith this infection will be evaluated and cared for differently than patientswith common coronavirus diagnosis.
Favipiravir is specifically made to treat RNAviruses. These viruses have a main genetic material of RNA rather than RNA. Thedrug stops some viruses from replicating by crippling the enzyme called RNApolymerase. It is a substance that gets chemical reactions going. Without thatenzyme intact, the virus cant duplicate its genetic material efficiently onceinside a host cell.
Howresearchers used Favipiravir in patients infected with COVID-19?
This medication is used in a recent study with somepatients. On day one, the group – comprising 35 people all whom had a confirmeddiagnosis of the infection and met the trial criteria, took 1,600 mg ofFavipiravir twice in separate doses. Along with Favipiravir, there is anadditional inhaled interferon as well. On day two, this group reduced the doseinto 600 mg twice a day and kept taking the inhaled interferon. Those who tookinhaled Favipiravir, cleared the virus in an average of 4 days. The drug alsoshowed a significant improvement in chest imaging.
The researchers say that, in this open-label non-randomized control study, Favipiravir showed significantly better treatment effects on COVID-19. It may be in terms of disease progression and viral clearance.