An off-the-shelf anti-viral for Covid-19? It may not be perfect but the Chinese coronavirus experience suggests it is both safe and effective.
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters on Tuesday.
Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, public broadcaster NHK said.
In addition, X-rays confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug.No one is talking about a magic wand solution but in these pandemics death happens at the margins and a drug that can improve lung condition in 91 per cent instead of just 62 per cent otherwise, narrows those margins.
There may be better products coming but they could be months, a year or more away. If there's something that can produce favourable results while we wait we should go for it.