China says Japanese anti-Coronavirus drug works
While Japan and South Korea have been expressing reservations about it, China says a Japan-developed drug Avigan works against the Coronavirus.
Published: March 20, 2020, 7:45 am
Avigan is an influenza medicine developed by a Fujifilm Holdings company and is effective against the new Coronavirus, the Chinese government said on Tuesday.
Beijing is recommending the drug Favipiravir, developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and sold under the brand name Avigan. “It is very safe and clearly effective,” Zhang Xinmin, director of the science ministry’s China National Center for Biotechnology Development, told the media.
Fujifilm Toyama developed the drug in 2014 and it has been administered to Covid-19 patients in Japan since February.
Clinical trials were conducted on 200 patients at hospitals in Wuhan and Shenzhen, which showed patients testing negative in a comparatively short time, while pneumonia symptoms were markedly reduced.
They were better after only four days, compared to 11 days in the control group, according to Zhang. There were no clear side effects, he added. But some studies found that the drug may cause fetal deaths or deformities, and can be transferred in semen.
South Korea’s ministry of food and drug safety decided not to import Avigan, Yonhap news agency reported.
On Thursday China has reported no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time.
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