Fujifilm’s Avigan Candidate for the Treatment of the New Coronavirus

Favipiravir, an anti-influenza drug developed by Fujifilm‘s subsidiary Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, has temporarily attracted attention as a candidate for the treatment of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19), with the product name “Avigan“.

As a sequel to the “Fundamental Reasons for Avigan Not Approved Even Now” released on February 10.

In addition to the potential physician bias in efficacy assessments, there are other possible reasons why experts may not have agreed to approval on this data alone.

Is speculated that the potential risks of this drug have had a considerable impact on the debate over whether to approve the expansion of Avigan’s indications for the new corona. The risk is “teratogenicity” revealed in animal experiment data submitted at the time of approval as an anti-influenza drug. In short, there is a risk of malformations in children born when taken by men and women during the reproductive period or by pregnant women.

In animal experiments with Avigan, teratogenicity was observed in four types of animals: monkeys, mice, rats, and rabbits, and it has also been reported that early fertilized eggs (early embryos) died in rats. Of course, the same thing as the result of animal experiments does not always occur in humans. However, since teratogenicity is confirmed in all four types of animals, including monkeys of the same primates as humans, it is reasonable to consider that it can occur sufficiently in humans.

In fact, this was the biggest issue when Avigan was approved as an anti-influenza drug. The company has requested an application for approval as a treatment for seasonal influenza, but the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has decided to approve avigan, which is teratogenic to seasonal influenza, which has hundreds of thousands of confirmed patients each season. The side showed disappointment.

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