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Russian scientists publish first results of Avifavir clinical trials

The pilot part of clinical trials demonstrated that Avifavir possesses rapid antiviral action

MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Russian medics have revealed the results of the pilot part of phases two and three of clinical trials of Avifavir, a domestic favipiravir-based drug capable of suppressing the coronavirus. It accelerated the removal of the coronavirus from the body in more than half of patients and didn’t cause any serious side effects, the scientists wrote in their article published in the medRxiv electronic library.

"The pilot part of our randomized and open clinical trials demonstrated that Avifavir possesses rapid antiviral action, it eliminated the virus in four days in 62.5% patients. Soon we will study how different dosages influence the rate of recovery," the researchers wrote.

So far the researchers managed to single out only a few preparations capable of influencing the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including favipiravir, remdesivir, and the recombinant interferon-2-alpha protein. They were created in order to fight the flu virus, hepatitis C, and the Ebola virus but have already proven themselves in various lab experiments directed at search for medicines against the coronavirus.

The previous experience demonstrated that these medicines do not help all patients and are not capable of preventing the spread of the coronavirus infection or of suppressing the light forms of the infection which does not allow to use them for control and prevention of COVID-19.

A group of scientists headed by Andrey Ivashchenko, a researcher of the ChemRar group of companies, has conducted first practical tests of the effectiveness and safety of Avifavir, a Russian analogue of the favipiravir flu medicine developed in Japan.

Early results

At the end of May, Avifavir received Russia’s Health Ministry registration certificate and on June 3, it was included on the list of instructional guidelines of prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of the novel coronavirus infection. Favipiravir-based drugs have not been used in other countries yet since they haven’t passed clinical trials.

As the researchers wrote, sixty volunteers infected with the coronavirus and suffering from the pneumonia and other COVID-19 symptoms participated in Russian clinical trials of this substance. They were divided in three groups, one of which was receiving placebo while the other two - two different dosages of Avifavir. Simultaneously all patients were taking anticoagulants, antibiotics, and other drugs to lessen the symptoms of the coronavirus infection.

The subsequent observations of their health demonstrated that on the fourth day of treatment the virus disappeared in approximately 62.5% patients, while it occurred in only 30% of cases in the control group. By the tenth day of treatment, traces of SARS-CoV-2 were not registered in 90% of medicated volunteers and in 80% of the placebo group.

Similar positive changes were recorded regarding the body temperature and sectional lung imaging with no serious side effects in all cases with the exception of nausea and dizziness which are characteristic of favipiravir as well.

The results of these pilot observations, as the researchers note, will help them conduct full clinical trials quickly and efficiently. These experiments, as they hope, will confirm the effectiveness and safety of the drug and open the way for its practical use.