Hamsters mimic human disease models closely.

Would it not be great if there was an existing, approved drug that would help fight or prevent the coronavirus from spreading? There appears to be something already undergoing clinical tests around the world that might be that drug that could keep the virus from spreading from one person to another.

Japan Testing

Japan has used the antiviral drug, favipiravir (brand name Avigan), to treat viral infections (ixodid tick-borne infectious disease, thrombocytopenia syndrome, Ebola virus, and more since 2014.

This drug was developed by Fujifilm Toyama Chemical. It prevents a virus from replicating. The early success of this drug treating COVID-19 patients has led to Avigan being shipped to 43 countries for additional clinical tests. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/04/fujifilms-flu-drug-favipiravir-sent-to-43-nations-for-covid-19-trials.html

Testing in Japan and China has shown significant results. Patients recover faster with fewer complications.

United States Testing

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School were selected for clinical testing of favipiravir. Although testing has been done in the United States, this drug is not commercially available. https://www.ashp.org/-/media/8CA43C674C6D4335B6A19852843C4052.ashx Testing is still ongoing.

Overall Results

Laboratory animals (Syrian hamsters) have been given favipiravir and caged with another animal already infected. Depending on the dosage given to the treated animal, the testing showed that the treated animals did not come down with the coronavirus. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/influenza-drug-shows-promise-against-sars-cov-2

Syrian hamsters were chosen because the disease progresses rapidly and mimics human symptoms. In one test, eight animals were treated with the highest dose a day before they were caged with an infected animal. After four days with the infected animals, the six of the treated animals had no virus detectable in the lungs.

If this antiviral drug works well in humans, it might be the first preventive COVID-19 drug. Low doses appear to give poor results. Increasing the dose made the difference.


Japan and several other countries are actively testing Avigan with human trials. This drug is not approved for general use in the United States. Why? The articles I read did not indicate. One can speculate that other countries have to test further along than the United States and results are pending.

One might also conclude unacceptable side effects, that those comments would have already been made public when each stage of the clinical trials was completed.

As preventive, it might work well for healthy people. Those with pre-existing conditions might have worries. There are too many unanswered questions regarding the safety and availability of this drug in the fight against COVID-19.

Animal testing provides great insights into how human testing might result. It is indicative of what might happen, but not totally predictive to take to the bank and start using immediately. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/favipiravir-united-states-not-commercially-available-refer-to-prescribing-and-access-restrictions-drug-information

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin – RedOLaughlin.com


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