Spokesman: Favipiravir, Remdesivir drugs not showing promising effects on coronavirus patients in Iran

FNA – The Iranian health ministry said on Tuesday that the country has tested the two controversial drugs of favipiravir and remdesivir on coronavirus patients, and received no promising report of treatment.

“Two coronavirus drugs were controversial in the country in the past few weeks; one of them is favipiravir produced in Japan. Some studies were made on favipiravir. Remdesivir was also being studied in the US and they said that it could decrease the death rate and was effective in critical and emergency conditions,” Health Ministry Spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told reporters via a video conference.

He underlined that the Iranian health ministry “trusts national findings” of studies conducted on the Iranians more, and added, “Both drugs were studied clinically in Iran and we have had no special and promising report about the two drugs so far and they have not found their way to the protocols.”

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised emergency use of the Ebola drug remdesivir for treating the coronavirus. A recent clinical trial showed the drug helped shorten the recovery time for people who were seriously ill; however, it did not significantly improve survival rates.

Favipiravir was developed by the Japanese company Fujifilm Toyama Chemical in 2014 and used for treatment of new strains of influenza.

Last month, Iran’s medical officials agreed on doing a clinical trial on the effectiveness of favipiravir as the coronavirus disease has not been curbed yet.

Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences announced that a clinical trial began by Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari hospital aimed at determining favipiravir’s effectiveness in treating patients infected with COVID-19.

The announcement underlined that efforts for drug synthesis as well as the pharmaceutical formulation of favipiravir have been invested in Iran since early March and the drug will be domestically produced in the country should the trial demonstrate its effectiveness in relieving symptoms caused by a coronavirus.

Last month, the Iranian researchers at Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tousi University managed to produce the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of Favipiravir, also known as Avigan.

“The synthesis of Favipiravir API and catalysts was successfully performed at Khajeh Nasir al-Din Tusi University of Technology,” Professor of Chemistry at Khajeh Nasir University said.