Avifavir: Russia says it has found the first effective antiviral against coronavirus

Elias Hubbard
June 2, 2020

Trials have shown the medication to be highly effective in fighting the virus.

A study published this month, for example, tied the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which U.S. President Donald Trump says he has been taking and has urged others to use, to an increased risk of death in hospitalised COVID-19 patients. The health ministry had given its approval for the drug's use under a special accelerated process and manufacturing had begun in March, he added.

"We believe this is a game changer".

"We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russian Federation". Avifavir will not be prescribed during pregnancy due to a possible effect on the fetus. He said the company behind the drug would manufacture enough to treat around 60,000 people a month. The worldwide generic or chemical name is Favipiravir. The drug works by short-circuiting the reproduction mechanism of certain RNA viruses such as influenza. "It was developed and tested in clinical trials in Russian Federation in an unprecedentedly short period of time enabling Avifavir to become the first registered drug based on Favipiravir in the world", CEO of the RDIF Kirill Dmitriev said.

"The drug showed very good results in randomised clinical tests".

On Tuesday, the government said the spread of the virus had reached a "stable" and controlled level and began to lift pandemic restrictions inside the country, while keeping in force a ban on foreign entry into the country, with global air and railway travel still suspended.

Japan has been trialling the same drug, known there as Avigan.

As of Friday, about 307,000 people were under medical observation, Russia's consumer rights and human well-being watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement Saturday.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a decree allocating 10.9 billion rubles (155 million USA dollars) to subsidize the country's airports as the pandemic has greatly reduced passenger traffic, the government said Saturday.

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Other reports by Click Lancashire

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