Japan to complete Avigan drug clinical tests to treat COVID-19 in Sept.

2020-08-14 Xinhua Editor:Li Yan

Japan's Fujifilm Holdings Corp. said on Thursday that it expects to finish clinical tests of anti-flu drug Avigan, a potential candidate treatment drug to treat COVID-19, in September.

Avigan, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings, is believed to be of benefit to those diagnosed with milder cases of COVID-19, or those newly infected with the virus, as a treatment for the symptoms.

The clinical tests first started in March to see if the drug is effective in treating patients with COVID-19 and the company had hoped to finish them by June. However, the number of confirmed cases in the country was on a downtrend at that time, making it difficult to meet the enrollment target of 96.

Recently, COVID-19 resurgence continues to spread in urban areas including Tokyo and its surrounding areas after a nationwide state of emergency was fully lifted in late May.

"Although we've taken more time than planned, we will complete clinical tests as soon as possible and seek approval," said President and Chief Operating Officer Kenji Sukeno.

The last patient will take part in the clinical study on Sunday and all necessary data will have been collected next month, according to the company.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had expressed his hopes that the drug could receive approval in May. However, an interim report released in mid-May by a Japanese university did not indicate clear efficacy.

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