Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director General, Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR) said to India Today TV, “We are soon going to see another drug called Favipiravir, which has been approved by Russia’s FDA (under ministry of health) today. We do hope that Drug controller General of India (DCGI) will look at it critically and that approval will also come very soon.”
Under CSIR, scientists are working with ten drug candidates to find a vaccine or drug to cure SARS-CoV-2. “These are re-purposed drugs we are trying to see if they can be used against covid19. CSIR is currently involved in trials on Favipiravir with Cipla.” said Dr Mande.
Favipiravir is the generic version of the drug Avifavir, which is an anti-influenza medication, originally sold in Japan under the brand name Avigan. It was developed by Japan’s Fujifilm Pharmaceuticals, approved in 2014, as an antiviral medication to treat influenza.
Favipiravir is a pyrazine carboxamide derivative and is also being studied to treat a number of other viral infections. Now, it has been repurposed to fight Covid-19. Preliminary trials are said to have shown that Avifavir could shorten recovery times for patients with the coronavirus.
Reports also suggest that early data from the study in Russia has shown that 60 percent of patients who received the treatment tested negative for the virus after five days. The ongoing trial will include 330 patients in 30 Russian medical centers.
There are several trials in countries, including the US, Italy and Japan and India, where Fujifilm announced it would be testing the drug’s efficacy on a group of 100 patients until the end of June.
Dr. Mande said that in India Cipla would be able to substantially ramp up production capacity for the drug once approved.