We are at the peak of the COVID outbreak and most medical research companies are in a rush to find a vaccine. At a time like this, it is great to hear of the promising drug called Favipiravir that has been used on COVID patients worldwide and has proven to have shown positive results. What is this drug and how effective it is on COVID patients are some questions that this article will give you an insight.
What is Favipiravir?
Favipiravir, an antiviral drug used in Japan to treat patients suffering from influenza virus has proved to be effective over COVID patients. It has had over 18 clinical trials for COVID patients and has shown positive results. Currently, Mumbai-based Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has approved the manufacture and sale of this drug to treat COVID patients in India.
Does This Drug Cure COVID?
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) permitted Mumbai-based pharmaceuticals Glenmark Pharmaceuticals that this drug can be used in the treatment of people suffering from mild to moderate severity of COVID infection. Before we understand if this can cure, here are some facts we need to be aware of this magic drug.
- Invented by a Japanese company to treat influenza virus.
- Post-COVID outbreak, China and Russia began using it on COVID patients and there does not exist enough scientific data regarding its rate of cure.
- Currently, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is conducting a phase 3 clinical trial of this drug on people with mild COVID.
- There is no scientific evidence on DCGIs website about this drug curing COVID.
- Earlier, the Japanese who approved this drug for Influenza has made it compulsory to print behind the label that the drug cannot be used by pregnant or lactating women.
- A research study was conducted over 150 Indian patients by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and details have yet to be made public.
Conclusion: Favipiravir is undergoing clinical trials in India and there is not much scientific evidence that it can cure or treat COVID. What we need to understand is that the data collected from such studies will usually be published in peer-reviewed journals. However, there is no evidence of Favipiravir being published in any scientific journal.
Other Drugs that Claim to Treat COVID-19
While Favipiravir is still being clinically tested in India, there have been other drugs as claimed by world governments that could be used positively in the treatment of COVID. Do these drugs prove to be effective? Well, here’s what you need to know.
This drug was developed 10 years ago and was used in clinical trials over people suffering from Ebola. However, results showed that it could only block the virus from spreading than cure it. Currently, the drug has been tested over COVID-19 patients around the world and shows positive results in reducing the number of days a person takes to recover. Moreover, this drug helps COVID patients recover within 11 days than that of 15 days.
This drug is a combination of two different drugs called lopinavir and ritonavir that have been used against HIV. Research states that it can be used over people suffering from mild COVID. However, this drug is still going through clinical trials and only time will prove its efficacy.
This antiviral drug was tested along with Kaletra as a treatment for COVID patients. However, this drug did not prove effective in the clinical trials over people suffering from mild or moderate COVID.
Progress In COVID Vaccine Development
What is a vaccine? A vaccine is designed to protect people before one contracts a virus. It basically protects an infected or non-infected person. Here is a list of projects taken worldwide to figure out a vaccine to treat and cure COVID.
1. University of Oxford (England)
The University of Oxford had begun clinical trials over 500 participants during late April 2020 and states that there is an 80% success chance of making the virus available during early September 2020. The university also stated if clinical trials are proven effective, they could deliver 30 million doses of vaccine by September.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals had begun working on a DNA vaccine for MERS (a type of coronavirus). The company stated that it had tested 40 healthy volunteers in its phase I clinical trial and is currently preparing for its phase II & III.
In March 2020 an American biotech company called Moderna began testing of RNA vaccine in Seattle. In May the company received permission from the FDA to begin its phase II study. In July it began phase III of clinical trials and if it succeeds it will be made available by early December as claimed by the company.
4. University of Queensland (Australia)
Currently, researches at the University of Queensland are developing a vaccine by growing viral proteins in cells. Research begins to grow as they have initiated preclinical testing in April 2020.
5. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson along with a French pharmaceutical company, Sanofi has been working together on a vaccine for COVID. However, both have begun clinical testing in June over 200 participants. We will have to wait for more research and findings to be seen.
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What to Take Out of This
Favipiravir has been authorised by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to be given for people with mild to moderate COVID infection. However, what we need to buy out of this is that the drug is still being clinically tested in the country and it shows effectiveness on paper.
The best thing that you can do is stay home, wear a face mask and wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds every time you go out and enter your homes. Better safe than take a risk at a time when the world is still battling this deadly virus.