Russia, one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, is finding reason to hope after news that a home-grown drug can speed recovery time from the virus.
The drug, called Avifavir, is based on an anti-flu treatment called Avigan that was developed by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings in the 90s. To develop Avifavir, Russian scientists modified Avigan to enhance it. The new drug product is being produced by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and ChemRar Group. RDIF’s CEO, Kirill Dmitriev, said that the details of how the drug has been enhanced will be released within the next two weeks and called it “perhaps the most promising COVID-19 drug in the world.”
Dmitriev said that early results from an ongoing study of 330 participants have shown that Avifavir can treat most coronavirus patients within four days. Because Avigan has already been approved for use in Russia, the country’s health ministry was able to expedite approvals for Avifavir. But the full clinical trial of Avifavir will be wrapped up in about a week.
According to Reuters, the country will soon begin shipping doses of the drug to hospitals in Russia on June 11. After securing a domestic supply of Avifavir, Russia could then consider producing it for export.