Avigan drug not showing apparent efficacy in coronavirus treatment – new Japanese data
Avigan, a Japanese candidate drug for treating novel coronavirus infections, has not so far shown apparent efficacy in treating the respiratory disease in clinical trials, sources familiar with the matter told Kyodo News on Tuesday.
This raised doubts about its approval by the end of this month as sought by the Japanese government, the sources said.
Preliminary results of clinical tests of Avigan on patients with coronavirus reported to Japan’s health ministry did not provide clear evidence of the drug’s effectiveness in reducing coronavirus growth, the sources added.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said earlier this month he is hoping for the approval of Avigan, developed by a Fujifilm Holdings’ subsidiary by the end of May. However, some medical experts have voiced concerns about rushing to approve the drug since it is known to have potential side effects on the fetus when used by pregnant women.
The clinical trial data were reported by hospitals treating people showing non or mild symptoms. The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare has been expecting that the data, along with results of other trials involving thousands of coronavirus patients, would help lead to early approval, the sources further said.
Fujifilm is still conducting clinical studies of the drug on coronavirus patients.
“There are currently no data showing that Avigan has high efficacy,” Daisuke Tamura, an associate professor at Jichi Medical University specializing in pediatric infectious disease, told Kyodo News.
“It should be cautiously evaluated based on scientific evidence,” Tamura said.