Favipiravir; a new drug to fight against Covid-19 approved by India

by Shatakshi Gupta

All the countries around the world are currently focusing only and only on discovering as well as in formulating a vaccine or a medicine in the wake of the ruthless spread of Covid-19. Now, in this search India gave nod to a medicine which was found much helpful in the treatment of Coronavirus patients, specifically for those who have mild to moderate symptoms. This approval came for a pharmaceuticals company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, the previous week. And now this company became the very first one that obtained approval for the manufacturing as well as for the marketing of Favipiravir, for treating those Covid-19 infected patients who are showing mild to moderate symptoms in them.

Earlier, there were also few more drugs which are found effective to fight against the Coronavirus such as Remdesivir and Dexamethasone. Only recently Dexamethasone, was also found as the medicine which could be used as the lifesaving drug for the serious Coronavirus patients.

Now, if Favipiravir proves to be efficacious in all its clinical trials then over the next few months, Glenmark will enjoy first mover advantage at a time when the country is reporting record number new Covid-19 cases.

The company had already started with the manufacturing of the drug – which is due to be rolled out by early next week and it is supposed to be available at pan-India level within 8-10 days.

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The ramp up in drug sales is dependent on the load of patients and how the pandemic develops. At Rs 103 a tablet and Rs 3,500 for the complete course of medication – it is moderately priced as compared with the competing drug Remdesivir, which too has received emergency drug approval for treatment of coronavirus patients with severe conditions and is likely to be made available by June end at around Rs 5,000 a dose.

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Since 2014, Favipiravir holds approval in Japan to treat new or re-emerging influenza virus infections. Glenmark has developed the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) as well as the formulation for this drug in-house.

As per the company, Favipiravir is demonstrating promising clinical outcomes, with positive results in mild to moderate Covid-19 cases. Clinical improvement was observed in age groups of 20 to >90 years.

The drug is being said that it would provide rapid decrease in the viral load within four days, and will also show quicker symptomatic and radiological improvement. Favipiravir demonstrated up to 88% of clinical improvement in patients with mild to moderate Covid-19.

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals chairman and managing director Glenn Saldanha said: “FabiFlu has demonstrated an encouraging response in mild to moderate Covid-19 patients during clinical trials. Moreover, it is orally administered, and so it serves as a more convenient treatment option over other intravenously administered medications. He also told, “Glenmark will work closely with the government and medical community to make FabiFlu quickly accessible to patients across the country.”

Glenmark said that mild to moderate Covid-19 patients with co-morbid conditions such as diabetes and heart disease can also use the drug.