Biology Health

Avigan & hydroxychloroquine: Possible COVID drugs

While China and Japan are administering Avigan to patients with coronavirus, France is using a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for faster results; US awaits FDA approval

Fujifilm Toyama Chemical of Japan has started using its anti-flu drug Avigan in patients with coronavirus in the country. Japanese company Fugifilm went ahead with the administration of this drug to fight COVID after China reported promising results from such experiments. The company spokesperson said, “By the end of June, the trial of this drug will have been done on 100 patients.”

Reports after the trial of this drug on 340 patients in Wuhan and Shenzhen of China suggest that the time taken for the COVID (coronavirus disease) patients to regain health after consuming Avigan reduce gradually and they will recover from the illness faster.

The spokesperson of the company told news agency Agende France Presse (AFP), “The trial of this drug will have been done on 100 patients by the end of June.” He said further that the company would collect and analyse the data and then send it for approval.

The spokesperson said that this drug would be used on coronavirus-infected patients with mild pneumonia. The age of these patients will be between 20–74 years. Pregnant women have not been included in this study because some side effects were observed during its use on animals.

Meanwhile, on getting the news, the White House has begun pressuring the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve of the use of Avigan to fight COVID.

Elsewhere in medical institutions and labs in the US, France, China and South Korea, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, approved by the US FDA for the treatment of malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, is being considered for use as an anti-coronavirus drug. These drugs had quelled SARS in 2005 whereas coronavirus is nothing but a variation of SARS, referred to as in medical circles as SARS-CoV-2.

By 23 February, China had finished seven rounds of trial of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of COVID.

The University of Minnesota is studying the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in COVID patients.

France is using hydroxychloroquine in combination with azithromycin. It reports that the patients recover faster when this combination is admiNistered.