Russian Federation approves first drug for Covid-19 treatment

Cheryl Sanders
June 1, 2020

Dmitriev said the new drug, which comes in tablet form, would allow people to spend less time in hospital and reduce the time they are contagious, saying the drug had few side-effects but was not suitable for pregnant women.

Russia's Health Ministry hasapproved the modified antiviral drug, which is registered in Russian Federation as Avifavir, for treating coronavirus patients, and clinics will be able to administer it in tablet form starting June 11, with enough supplies to treat around 60,000 people per month, head of the RDIF Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters.

The Russian Health Ministry has approved the first domestic drug, called Avifavir, for treating coronavirus patients, according to a new entry to the national drug registry. RDIF, which has a 50% share in the drug's manufacturer ChemRar, funded the trials and other work with its partners, to the tune of around 300 million roubles ($4.3 million), said Dmitriev, who explained that the costs to Russian Federation were much lower because of previous development work conducted in Japan. The worldwide generic or chemical name is Favipiravir. Japan has been trialling the same drug, known there as Avigan.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a decree allocating 10.9 billion rubles (155 million US dollars) to subsidize the country's airports as the pandemic has greatly reduced passenger traffic, the government said Saturday.

Clinical trials began in April, and on the eve of the manufacturers announced the final stage of research.

Clinical trials to test efficacy drugs usually take many months, even when expedited, and involve large numbers of patients randomly assigned who receive either the drug being trialled or a control or placebo.

Initially, the drug will not be released for sale, and will be used exclusively in hospitals.

"Afivavir is not only the first antiviral drug registered against coronavirus in Russia, but it is also perhaps the most promising anti-COVID-19 drug in the world", said Russian Direct Investment Fund CEO Kirill Dmitriev. "We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russian Federation".

The death toll increased by 138 to 4,693, while 171,883 people have recovered, including 4,414 over the last 24 hours, according to the statement.

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