COVID-19: Patients with mild to moderate infection can now be treated with Japanese antiviral drug

  • Hamid Merchant

Press/Media: Research


Patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infection in Pakistan can now be treated with Japanese anti-Influenza drug Favipiravir after dozens of Pakistani pharmaceutical companies started producing and marketing the antiviral drug under different brand names, officials and experts said on Saturday.


Covid-19 antiviral therapeutics

Period5 Sep 2021

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleCOVID-19: Patients with mild to moderate infection can now be treated with Japanese antiviral drug
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletThe News
    Media typePrint
    DescriptionFavipiravir is already approved in some countries, including India, the UAE and Turkey, for Covid-19 treatment. There is good evidence to suggest that the drug has shown rapid viral clearance and faster clinical improvement. "There are several ongoing clinical trials that will further substantiate the role of Favipiravir in Covid-19,” said Dr Hamid Merchant, a pharmaceutical scientist and subject lead in Pharmacy at the University of Huddersfield, England.

    Dr Merchant emphasised that with any antiviral treatment, the key to success is to initiate the treatment as soon as possible, ideally within 24 to 48 hours of catching the virus. “A five-day course of tablets at home if initiated within 24 hours of catching a virus can prevent a severe disease and prevent hospitalisation of high-risk population,” he said, adding that Favipiravir is a broad spectrum orally active antiviral drug which has already been used in many countries for Covid-19 treatment since last year, and clinical trials in Russia and the United States (PRESCO) had already shown promising results.

    He maintained that Favipiravir is not a new drug – it is an established drug against other viruses and was repurposed for Covid-19, therefore, its safety was already established pre-pandemic. “The drug is also available as oral dosage form, such as tablet, and hence convenience of a home treatment for many high-risk patients.” “Pakistan has already been late in exploring this option, but I am glad that they have finally decided to go ahead to try this drug,” Dr Merchant added.
    Producer/AuthorM Waqar Bhatti
    PersonsHamid Merchant