Fujifilm to resume clinical trials of Avigan to treat Covid-19

Avigan tablets on display at Fujifilm headquarters in Tokyo in 2014 (Reuters pic)

The Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday that Fujifilm Holdings Corp. will resume a clinical trial in Japan of its antiviral drug Avigan to treat Covid-19.

Local approval of the drug was delayed after a Health Ministry committee said in December that trial data was inconclusive. Nikki said the new study will include about 270 patients and Fujifilm will seek approval again in October.

Fujifilm representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Japan has approved Avigan, known generically as faviravir, as an emergency medicine for influenza. But there are still concerns, as the drug has been shown to cause birth defects in animal studies, and it has proven difficult to prove its effectiveness against Covid-19.

The Japanese government has called on Fujifilm to double national stocks of the drug approved to treat Covid-19 in Russia, India and Indonesia.

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