Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients, reports The Guardian. Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients. “It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang said.
Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug. In addition, X-rays confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug.
The report says doctors in Japan are using the same drug in clinical studies on coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms, hoping it will prevent the virus from multiplying in patients. But a Japanese Health Ministry source suggested the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms.
[link url="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/japanese-flu-drug-clearly-effective-in-treating-coronavirus-says-china?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other"]Full report in The Guardian[/link]