Japan-based Fujifilm has started clinical trials to test the efficacy of Avigan, an anti-flu drug to treat coronavirus patients.
Trials done in China suggested that Avigan might play a key role in reducing the recovery time for patients who reported positive for coronavirus.
According to a company’s spokesman, the trial will be done on 100 patients till the end of June and Fujifilm will collect data, analyze it and would file for approval after that.
Avigan will be given for around 14 days to coronavirus infected patients aged between 20 and 74 years with symptoms of mild pneumonia.
As side effects were found in animal testing, the study does not include pregnant women.
China has finished the clinical trials on favipiravir, Avigan’s main ingredient as said by China’s ministry of science and technology.
The phase three trial comes after Japan PM Shinzo Abe said that the government will start the required process to formally approve Avigan to treat new coronavirus.
The two trials proved that the drug reduced the recovery time for patients in which Fujifilm was not involved in those programs.
Avigan is approved as an antiviral drug for flu to manufacture and sale in Japan.
Fujifilm announced the trial and issued a statement that reads: “It is expected that Avigan may potentially have an antiviral effect on the new coronavirus.”
Researchers and companies across the globe are racing to find a cure for novel coronavirus and are mainly focusing on existing medicines like anti-malaria and anti-HIV drugs.
Anti-malarial drugs like hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have shown early promise to treat COVID-19 in preliminary studies in China and France.
But experts warn caution as bigger trials should demonstrate effectiveness. Hydroxychloroquine usage has led to the death of a person in Assam while an overdose of the drug is hoping to prevent coronavirus in three Nigerians.
Medical researchers all over the world are working to make a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.