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Russia claims Favipiravir shows promise against coronavirus in early trials

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Favipiravir is also undergoing trials in India by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals

Antiviral drug, favipiravir, has produced promising results in early clinical trials in Russia, according to Russian Direct Investment Fund. It has provided 150 million roubles ($2 million) in funding for the project.

Kirill Dmitriev, Head of RDIF, informed that 60 per cent of the 40 coronavirus patients taking tablets of favipiravir, which was first developed in Japan under the name Avigan, tested negative for the virus within five days and said the treatment could cut coronavirus recovery times in half.

Avigan, known generically as favipiravir, works by short-circuiting the reproduction mechanism of certain RNA viruses such as influenza. Favipiravir is also undergoing trials in India by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

Andrei Ivashchenko, Professor, Russian Academy of Sciences and Chairman of the Board of Directors, ChemRar, the company conducting the trials, said that the clinical trial of 330 patients infected with the coronavirus should be finished by the end of May.

He said early tests showed that there were minimal side effects. However, pregnant women were prohibited from using it as the drug was found to cause birth defects in Japan. Ivashchenko also said there was not enough data to say how effective the treatment would be for severely ill patients.

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