Russia approves Avifavir to treat Covid-19

Medicine and healthcare. — file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

KUCHING, June 3: The Russian government has approved the country’s first antiviral drug under the name Avifavir to treat Covid-19, which they will start administrating to patients next week.

According to Reuters, Russian hospitals was given the green light to use the drug on patients starting June 11.

The head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters in an interview recently that the company behind the drug would manufacture enough to treat around 60,000 people a month.

“The clinical trials of the drug had been conducted involving 330 people, and had shown that it successfully treated the virus in most cases within four days,” he revealed.

Dmitriev added that Russia was able to cut testing timescales because the Japanese generic drug which Avifavir is based on was first registered in 2014 and had undergone significant testing before Russian specialists modified it.

“We believe this is a game changer. It will reduce strain on the healthcare system, we’ll have fewer people getting into a critical condition.

“We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russia,” he said, adding that it is hoped the move will ease strains on the health system and for everyone to return to normal economic life,

The Reuters report noted a new antiviral drug from Gilead (GILD.O) called remdesivir has shown some promise in small efficacy trials against Covid-19 and is being given to patients by some countries under compassionate or emergency use rules.

According to Dmitriev, Russian scientists had modified the drug to enhance it, and Moscow would be ready to share the details of those modifications within two weeks.

Generically known as favipiravir, the Avifavir drug was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company. Japan has been trialling the same drug, known there as Avigan but has yet to be approved for use.

Currently there is no vaccine for Covid-19, a disease caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. — DayakDaily