Coronavirus drug Favipiravir set for clinical trials by Indian pharma companies Strides and Glenmark

Tablets of Avigan (generic name: Favipiravir), a drug approved as an anti-influenza drug in Japan and developed by drug maker Toyama Chemical Co, a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Co. are displayed during a photo opportunity at Fujifilm's headquarters in Tokyo October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

  • At least two Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers — Strides Pharma and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals — are set to run clinical trials for a potential Covid-19 drug — Favipiravir.
  • The share prices of the two drugmakers surged as they announced the potential treatment for Covid-19.
  • Favipiravir tablets are used to treat influenza and other viral infections, in general.
  • The drugmaker said that it has been effective in reducing the recovery time in patients and also improved the respiratory conditions.
  • As many as 86 teams are presently working to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine including those undergoing clinical trials.
India may be inching closer to introducing a Coronavirus drug, even as the infection continues to spread fast.

At least two Indian pharmaceutical manufacturers — Strides Pharma and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals — are set to run clinical trials for a potential drug against Covid -19 — Favipiravir.

Needless to say, the share prices of the two drugmakers surged as they announced the potential treatment for Covid-19. On Thursday (April 30), Stride Pharma shares zoomed by 18% to ₹442 while Glenmark Pharmaceuticals stocks gained 8.9% at ₹359.
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Favipiravir is manufactured by the name ‘Avigan’ and was first used in Japan. It was approved as an effective drug for treating viral infections. The drug showed positive results in Covid-19 patients, the drugmakers said.

On Wednesday, Stride Pharma said that it has developed Favipiravir tablets — which is essentially an antiviral used to treat influenza — and is awaiting government approval to start trials. In fact, Stride Pharma claims to be the first Indian pharma company to commercially launch and export Favipiravir.

The drugmaker said that it has been effective in reducing the recovery time in patients and also improved the respiratory conditions.
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In an interview with ET, CEO R Ananthanarayanan said that the drug is for people with moderate symptoms. However, they are still unsure if the drug would work for patients with mild symptoms. “The drug breaks the genome sequence in the middle part where the virus proliferation happens. When this happens the recovery is faster. In moderate conditions this has shown good results,” he said.

In the meantime, Glenmark has already got the approval to conduct clinical trials of the drug. “After having successfully developed the API and the formulations, Glenmark is all geared to immediately begin clinical trials on favipiravir on Covid-19 patients in India," Sushrut Kulkarni, executive VP, Global R&D, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, told News18. The company said that it would test the drug on nearly 150 humans for 14 days.

Scientists across the globe are now working towards a vaccine faster than ever. As many as 86 teams are presently working to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine including those undergoing clinical trials.
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However as the situation remains uncertain, the doctors are implementing various treatments like blood plasma, anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. Researchers say that it will take at least 12 to 18 months to prepare a vaccine to treat Coronavirus because the vaccines have to undergo several clinical trials to be proven safe.

See also:
Apple and Google release test version of Coronavirus patient tracking software

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