Fujifilm has issued a press release stating that their antiviral drug, Avigan, is to enter Phase II clinical trials in the USA. As previously reported, Avigan caused Fujifilm’s shares to increase by 8.8% in February after Japanese health authorities announced their plans to recommend it for COVID-19 treatment. Their shares jumped 15% after successful trials of the drug in China.
Avigan, also available in other parts of the world under the name “Favipiravir”, has been approved in Japan as an influenza antiviral drug, but it’s also been effective in treating other viruses such as ebola. Now it seems to be somewhat effective against COVID-19, the illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Fujifilm has previously announced that Japan had entered Phase III trials at the end of last month. And if you’re not entirely sure what all the different phases actually mean (I didn’t), here’s a summary from Wikipedia.
The statement from Fujifilm about the commencement of Phase II trials in the USA reads as follows…
FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) announces the initiation of a U.S. phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its influenza antiviral drug “Avigan® Tablet” (generic name: favipiravir) for patients with COVID-19, a respiratory infection caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Avigan, approved in Japan for manufacture and sale as an influenza antiviral drug, selectively inhibits RNA polymerase necessary for influenza virus replication. Due to this mechanism of action, it is expected that Avigan may potentially have an antiviral effect on the new coronavirus, because like influenza viruses, coronaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses that also depend on viral RNA polymerase. On March 31, Fujifilm announced the start of a phase III clinical trial of Avigan for COVID-19 patients in Japan.
The clinical trial in the U.S. will enroll approximately 50 patients with COVID-19, in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Fujifilm will continue to work to establish a treatment method for COVID-19 patients through conducting clinical trials, and to contribute to ending the spread of this global pandemic as soon as possible by increasing the production of Avigan in collaboration with strategic partners.
[via Fuji Rumors]