Keen on rapid research examination of promising drugs, officials at the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) said that Favipiravir, an anti-viral drug used for certain influenza viruses, looks promising as a drug against COVID-19 due to in-vitro results. “We will allow clinical trials to test this drug,” highly placed officials at DCGI told The Indian Express.
Favipiravir has shown some good results against certain influenza viruses, and other countries like China and Japan are testing it as a potential treatment against the coronavirus disease, officials said.
At the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Director General Dr Shekhar Mande said work is underway on repurposing different drugs that could be used as a line of treatment for COVID-19.
“The pharmaceutical company has completed the synthesis of Favipiravir, and once approved by DCGI, we can go ahead with limited clinical trials,” Dr Mande told The Indian Express.
According to European Pharmaceutical Review (April 17), the drug — approved in Japan for manufacture and sale as an anti-viral — is an investigational product being administered to COVID-19 patients in clinical studies. It is thought that it may combat COVID-19 as it inhibits the RNA polymerase required for viral replication, the Review said.
Several drugs such as Chloroquine, Arbidol, Remdesivir and Favipiravir are undergoing clinical studies to test their efficacy and safety in the treatment of coronavirus disease.
According to reports, Japanese company Fujifilm sells the drug Favipiravir under the brand Avigan, which has been approved in Japan to treat influenza. The drug was also used to treat Ebola.
Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research has advised the use of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) for prevention among high-risk categories like healthcare workers and high-risk contacts of positive patients.
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