Kenya orders Japanese drug Avigan to treat coronavirus as clinical trial continues

Avigan, manufactured by Japan. [Photo courtesy]

Kenya continues to make great strides in fighting the novel coronavirus as it bids for a new drug under clinical trial by Japan to treat 189 COVID-19 patients.

Japanese drug favipiravir trading as “Avigan” is currently undergoing Phase III trial to establish how safe and efficient it is in treating COVID-19 patients, the manufacturer Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co.Ltd stated.

According to the manufacturer, Avigan has strong anti-viral activities against RNA viruses some of which cause hemorrhagic fever.

Kenya has now placed an order for the antiviral drug after the Chinese government hailed its effectiveness in battling COVID-19, Director-General in the Ministry of Health Dr Patrick Amoth stated.

“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” said Zhang Xinmin, the director of the science ministry’s China National Centre for Biotechnology Development, in a news conference.

Avigan was used in Wuhan and Shenzhen cities when the virus went full-blown. About 200 patients participated in a clinical trial and the results were impressive showing that those who took the drug recovered faster.

Though Phase III clinical study will be completed on June 25, 2020, Avigan has been okayed for use since it does not show any adverse reactions and has been registered already.

Even with the good news that Avigan spells, the World Health Organization (WHO) is yet to ascertain an actual drug that can heal coronavirus.

WHO is currently conducting a trial on four drugs that could potentially heal COVID-19 under Solidarity. Among the drugs under study are Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, and Ritonavir/Lopinavir.

Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine have in the past been touted to potentially heal COVID-19 but scientists have discounted these claims.

“Researchers have tried this drug on virus after virus, and it never works out in humans,” Two scientists writing for Science Magazine on March 27 stated.