Anti-Flu Drug vs COVID: Philippine Trials for Avigan Start on Aug. 10

Japan-made Avigan certified by Tokyo as safe.
Photo/s: jarmoluk / Pixabay

Clinical trials in the Philippines for Japan’s anti-flu drug Avigan, a potential COVID-19 treatment, will begin next week, the Department of Health Friday. In the absene of a vaccine, governments around the world are also looking for potential treatments as infections rise.

Japan sent over 199,000 Avigan tablets for trails that will begin on Aug. 10, Health Usec. Rosario Vergeire told Unang Hirit. On Thursday, infections in the Philippines reached 119,460, overtaking Indonesia as the Southeast Asian nation with the most number of infections.

Avigan, also known as favipiravir, is an anti-flu drug developed by Japanese company Fujifilm Toyoma Chemical. It was first approved for use in 2014 as a response to flu outbreaks

Though not yet considered a cure, vaccine, or treatment for COVID-19,clini cal trials in several countries are part of a larger global effort to find a possible treatment or cure to COVID-19. The drug does not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration of the Philippines, but Vergeire said Japanese health authorities have already approved it safe to use.


“Kaya pagpasok dito wala na ho tayo masyadong regulatory processes na mangyayari because it's been approved, (So when it arrives here, it won’t have to undergo many regulatory processes since it’s been approved),” she said.

Avigan tablets will be administered to 100 patients in the Philippines, the Japanese Embassy in Manila said in a statement. 

Recipient governments, such as the Philippines, have “acknowledged Avigan's proper usage and prescription in view of its known adverse side effects,” the statement said. Japan will provide the drug to some 40 countries to test the drug’s efficacy.

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