Japan to approve Favipiravir and Remdesivir as COVID-19 treatments

NIH study found 1,063 patients given Remdesivir took recovered four days sooner than others

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Given through an IV, Remdesivir is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material.

Given through an IV, Remdesivir is designed to interfere with an enzyme that reproduces viral genetic material. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two therapeutic drugs, Favipiravir and Remdesivir, will soon be approved in Japan for the fight against the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Nearly 3,000 clinical trials have been conducted for Favipiravir, Shinzo Abe, Japan's Prime Minister, said on Monday (May 4), adding that if these data show that the drug is effective, it should be approved for prescription, Kyodo News reported. Favipiravir is an anti-influenza drug developed by a Japanese company.

According to some media speculation, the prime minister will be pushing for the drug's approval as soon as this month.

In addition, sources in the government said that experimental antiviral drug Remdesivir, developed and produced by American company Gilead Sciences, will be approved within a week as Japan’s first prescription drug to treat COVID-19.

Gilead Sciences has applied to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare for approval for Remdesivir. The ministry reportedly is fast-tracking the approval of the drug, per CNA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of Gilead Science's Remdesivir to treat coronavirus patients after early results of a clinical study showed the drug helps speed recovery.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said preliminary results from an NIH study found 1,063 patients tested with Remdesivir took 11 days to recover versus 15 days for others who received a placebo.