The Chinese government said on Tuesday that an influenza drug made by the Japanese company Fujifilm Holdings Group was effective against the new coronavirus. Beijing has already suggested using the drug Favipiravir, made by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical and selling under the name Avigan.
Zhang Jinmin, director of the Center for Biotechnology Development Center under the Chinese Ministry of Science, said at a press conference that it was very safe and clearly effective. Fujifilm Toyama made the drug in 2014. It has been given to patients there since February following a coronavirus infection in Japan.
Clinical trials of the drug were performed on 200 patients at the hospital in Wuhan and Shenzhen. The results showed that those who were given the drug were exposed to the virus faster than others; And the symptoms of pneumonia also decreased significantly.
Zhang said the patients taken with Favipiravir had been exposed to the virus in four days, whereas the patients in the control group had been exposed to the virus within 11 days. There were no obvious side effects of the drug, he said.
In another clinical trial , it was reported that patients taking Favipiravi recovered from an average of 2.5 days of fever; Others have healed in 4.2 days. Taking the medication reduced the symptoms of cough by 4.6 days, which is 1.4 days less than other patients. Only 8.2 percent of the patients receiving Favipiravi’s medication had to use breathing apparatus, while 17.1 percent of the patients in the control group had to use the device.
Although China has given positive reviews about Avignon drugs, it is quite the opposite in Japan. The drug was approved in 2014, on the condition that it be used only if the government decides to fight a new or spreading influenza virus. Studies show that the use of these drugs can cause death or disability and transfer to semen.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Protection also decided not to import Avignon after infectious disease experts ruled there was not enough clinical data to prove the effectiveness of the drug, the country’s Yonhap news agency reported this week.
Meanwhile, although Fujifilm’s share price is rising, it is unclear how the Chinese companies will benefit if they start mass production of FavipiraV. A spokesman of Fujifilm said they were not involved with China’s clinical trials and are currently being evaluated.
Fujifilm entered into a contract with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical of China in 2016 with a patent license for Faviperavir. However, the spokesman said the deal was canceled last year; Although there is still a “cooperative relationship” between the two sides.
The Chinese company said it had received formal approval to manufacture the drug in February and could increase the production of a generic version.
The spokeswoman says Fujifilm’s Favipiravi patents are legal in Japan, but subsidence patents expired in China last year. This paves the way for Zhejiang Hison to create a generic version of this drug.
Fujifilm is providing Avigon to Japanese hospitals for clinical research and is also preparing for its own clinical trials in Japan. The study was launched in Japan in March, but will have to wait a few months to get the results.
On the other hand, the company’s share price has risen nearly 15 percent on Wednesday, after the University of Tokyo announced that Nafamostat drugs from Nichi-Echo Pharmaceuticals prevented the transmission of coronavirus into human cells.