Japan Testing Flu Medication Treatment Against COVID-19 Disease
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has ordered a government task force to prepare for a potential surge in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Prime Minister Abe told the task force on February 23, 2020, that the ‘situation has entered a crucial phase after COVID-19 disease cases with unknown infection routes were reported in multiple regions of the country.’
Recently, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level 2 Travel alert regarding Japan’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
According to local media, Japan's health minister Katsunobu Kato said the anti-influenza medication Avigan will be used for COVID-19 treatment, as part of an observational study.
The Avigan tablet is an anti-influenza drug developed by the Fujifilm Group company, Toyama Chemical Co., Ltd., and is not distributed in the Japanese marketplace.
Avigan (Favipiravir) (T-705; 6-fluoro-3-hydroxy-2-pyrazinecarboxamide) is an anti-viral agent that selectively and potently inhibits the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) of RNA viruses.
A previous study in 2017 found Favipiravir was effective against a wide range of types and subtypes of influenza viruses, including strains resistant to existing anti-influenza drugs.
Of note is that favipiravir shows anti-viral activities against other RNA viruses such as arenaviruses, bunyaviruses, and filoviruses, all of which are known to cause fatal hemorrhagic fever.
These unique anti-viral profiles make favipiravir a potentially promising drug for specifically untreatable RNA viral infections.
Furthermore, Avigan was administered to multiple Ebola patients as an emergency measure amidst the 2014 outbreak. From December 2014 to May 2015, the French Institute of Health and Medical Research conducted a clinical trial on the Avigan Tablet's efficacy on treating Ebola patients.
Based on the final analysis results, the Guinean government has formally adopted the Ativan Tablet administration as a part of the standard treatment.
The Japenese government is reported by local media to possess about 2 million doses of Avigan and will supply it to medical institutions, as needed.
As of February 23, 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any medication for the treatment of the COVID-19 disease in humans.
COVID-19 treatment news is published by Precision Vaccinations.