Japanese Flu Drug
Medical authorities in China have said that the drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective. An official at China’s science and technology ministry said that Favipiravir had an encouraging outcome in clinical trials. It is in Wuhan and Shenzhen that involves 340 patients with the said influenza. Medical authorities have also added that it has a high degree of safety and clearly an effective treatment. Patients who were given the drug turned out to be negative after a median of 4 days after becoming positive. It was being compared to those 11 patients that did not take the drug for a median of 11 days.
Doctors in Japan are using the same drug in clinical studies on coronavirus patients (mild to moderate symptoms). They’re still hoping that it will prevent the virus from multipying in patients. But, they have said that the drug is not as effective in people with severe symptoms.
Coronaviruses are a type of virus that has different kinds which some cause disease. This disease is caused by the new coronavirus that emerged in China last year 2019. The virus causing coronavirus disease is not similar to the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans. In which, it causes mild illness like the common cold. Patients with this infection will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
What is Favipiravir?
Favipiravir was supplied in 2016 as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus oiutbreak in Guinea.
Ebola virus is one of the six known species within the genus Ebolavirus. It is a rare and deadly disease in people and nonhuman primates. This disease was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River. Since then, the virus has been infecting people from time to time which leads to outbreaks in several African countries. The virus spread to people initially by a direct contact with body fluids, blood, and tissues of animals.
Favipiravir is a modified pyrazine analog that targets RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) enzymes. These are needed for the transcription and replication of viral genomes.
Mechanism of Action
The active Favipiravir-RTP selectively inhibits RNA polymerase and prevents replication of the viral genome. Some studies have shown that when Favipiravir-RTP is incorparated into a nascent RNA strand, it prevent s RNA strand elongation and viral proliferation. Studies have also found that the presence of purine analogs can lessen Favipiravir’s antiviral activity. Although orginally developed to target influenza, the RdRp catalytic domain is expected to be similar for other RNA viruses.
How they used the drug?
On day one, the group – comprising 35 people all whom hhad a confirmed diagnosis of the infection and met the trial criteria, took 1,600 mg of Favipiravir twice in separate doses. Along with Favipiravir, there is an additional inhaled interferon as well.
On day two, this group reduced the dose into 600 mg twice a day and kept taking the inhaled interferon. Those who took inhaled Favipiravir, cleared the virus in an average of 4 days. The drug also showed a significant improvement in chest imaging.