COVID19: Cyprus among 20 countries to get Avigan anti-flu drug

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Cyprus is included in the list of 20 countries that will receive the Avigan anti-flu drug for hospital patients being treated for coronavirus, the Ministry of Health announced.

The Ministry was informed that Japan’s Drug Council approved, after actions taken in consultation with the Embassy of Cyprus in Japan and the country’s relevant authorities, the import of Avigan 200mg for 20 patients in hospital with COVID-19.

The supply of the drug will be part of the clinical studies the authorities in Japan are carrying out.

The drug, also known as favipiravir, was approved for use in Japan in 2014. Avigan is being tested in China as a treatment for COVID-19.

Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in Coronavirus patients.

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.

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, Japan public broadcaster NHK said last month.

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.