Iran ready to produce Avigan to treat coronavirus if trials proven its effectiveness
Companies in Iran are ready to produce the new Japanese anti-flu drug Avigan, which is said to be effective in the treatment of coronavirus, said an official on Friday.
Dr. Masoud Mardani, an infectious diseases specialist and a member of the National Committee for Coronavirus Fight in Iran, said if the clinical trials for hospitalised patients showed and proved positive results, Iranian companies can produce this drug on a large scale.
The price of the Iranian version of the drug will be much lower than foreign ones, and the patients with coronavirus can easily use them, local news outlet ifpnews quoted Mardani as saying.
“Fortunately, the initial results of this research project were satisfactory, and we are waiting for the final result of the clinical trial of this drug.” Mardani said.
The antiviral drug, which is also known as favipiravir, has been hailed by several health experts in China as a potential drug to treat patients infected with the coronavirus. It has been developed two years ago by Japanese company Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Company, a unit of Fujifilm Holdings.
The drug was also discovered to be useful in treating Crimean Congo fever, ifpnews quoted Mardani as saying.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday approved the country’s first clinical trial of the new drug, to be used by three Massachusetts hospitals.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester will launch small trials of the drug, which will involve around 50 or 60 patients with the coronavirus,
Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester will launch small trials of the drug, a doctor involved in the efforts told the Boston Globe. The U.S. trials would involve around 50 or 60 patients with the coronavirus, Dr. Keith T. Flaherty from the Massachusetts General Hospital told the Boston Global.
On April 5, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced that his country plans to provide nations stricken by the coronavirus pandemic with the drug free of charge. He said the clinical trials were underway in the Asian country to ensure its effectiveness and safety for potential use in treating symptoms caused by the virus.
The Japanese government had received requests for the new drug from more than 30 countries, Suga added.
On March 31, Fujifilm said it started a third phase of clinical trial of its drug for coronavirus patients in Japan.
In China, health experts hailed the new drug as “clearly effective” when used on 340 patients in trials in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, as it showed reduced recovery time and improved lung function, The New York Post reported.
These patients tested negative for the virus with a median of four days after becoming positive — much lower than the average of 11 days for those who were not given the medicine, Zhang Xinmin, director of China’s National Centre for Biotechnology Development, told the Guardian.
“The trial also found that X-ray photos confirmed improvements in lung conditions in about 91 percent of the patients who were given the medicine. The number stood at 62 percent for those without the drug.” Zhang said.
“It has a high degree of safety and is effective in treatment,”
Also in March, Nikkei Asian Review reported that Germany’s government wants to purchase large amounts of the Japanese drug to treat coronavirus patients with severe illness.
Germany intends to have short-term stockpiling of the drug, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.