A new Japanese antiviral drug, Avigan, is expected to become available in Egypt next week according to Hossam Hosni, head of the scientific committee for combating Covid-19 at the Ministry of Health. The drug, which also goes under the name favipiravir, will become part of Egypt’s protocol for treating the coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Hosni said, in televised statements on Friday, that the drug gained approval by the relevant authorities in Egypt as soon as the pandemic was first detected in the country. He added that the drug has been shown to help in the recovery from the disease within four days.
Having been used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza, Avigan was put forward as an effective coronavirus treatment in mid-March. Its addition to the coronavirus treatment protocol showed positive effects with the patients.
On 18 March, Chinese officials said they adopted the antiviral drug developed by Toyama Chemical (Fujifilm group) of Japan. The drug had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials on 340 patients in the Chinese provinces Wuhan and Shenzhen, according to Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s Science and Technology Ministry.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters.
X-rays on coronavirus patients showed the drug caused noticeable lung condition improvements in roughly 91% of patients treated with it, compared to 62% of those without the drug.
Ashraf Hatem, member of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research’s Supreme Committee for Viruses, said Avigan will be available at university hospitals and hospitals allocated for Covid-19 patients within two weeks.
Hatem added that his committee also approved an anti-retroviral drug, Kaletra, as part of the treatment protocol for cases that do not respond to Avigan. Kaletra, which was also used in Wuhan, will be delivered to Egypt in May.
According to Health Minister Hala Zayed, the ministry has prepared 12 hospitals for Covid-19 cases. These hospitals include 2,241 beds, 407 intensive care beds, and 346 ventilators. According to Zayed, 47 fever hospitals and 35 chest diseases hospitals across the country are also included in efforts to combat the coronavirus.